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Guild Wars 2: End of Year Successes and Failures

December 30, 2012 - 6:24pm -- Xerin
Guild Wars 2 End of Year

With New Years Eve right around the corner and now that Guild Wars 2 has been released for around fourth months, I'm curious to hear your opinions as to what was the best success (or successes) of the game and what was its biggest failure(s). 

The Successes

From my own perspective, the biggest successes so far has been the sheer abundance of content we've been given, at no cost, in such a short space of time. I've never known a videogame company who are so prolific at developing content, to such a high calibre.  That isn't to say the content is fault free or that it hasn't a times come at the expense of things in desperate need of fixes, but as the sub team setup of ArenaNet sees teams work on their own independent areas (bug-squashing teams have no link to content development) the added extras, all free of charge, is a more than welcome addition.  At times, I'd have to say the amount of content is a little overwhelming as I often login not knowing where to even start.  I will freely admit however that I'd rather have this, than nothing for months upon months. 

The Failures

In contrast to the above and despite what I said, I would have to raise the Fractals of the Mists, the difficulty system and Ascended items as Guild Wars 2's biggest failures.  While I love the concept and thoroughly enjoy playing the content, I feel this bun needed a little longer in the oven before it was unleashed into the game world.  What I find hard to understand is how a game developer so willing to encourage participation and cooperation failed to spot the divisive nature of the Fractal difficulty system. It's proved so divisive and frustrating that I haven't been able to play with most of my friends for months as they have little reason to come down to my level.  While they've acknowledged this will be fixed in a coming patch, it feels a little too late when the player base is already split.

In terms of Ascended items and as I raised in the latest Last Whiskey Bar, I feel this was implemented as a way of keeping players playing, rather than for any legitimate reason.  I think ArenaNet might have miscalculated how quickly players would "max out" and as a result, needed to give them a true carrot on stick to encourage continued play.

With all the above in mind, we're keen to hear just what you think are Guild Wars 2's successes and failures and what you'd like to see implemented in the new year. 

Wasselin
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I'd say the failures would be the continued presence of bugs. The game is just too buggy for me. 

unluki
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Successes:  nearly everything.  GW2 provides a huge, beautiful, world, done in a unique art style.  It is revolutionary in the areas of questing, events, and class system.  It is solo and group friendly.  The personal story provides the great over-arcing interactive quest that GW players know and love.  The jumping puzzles and the vistas were added fun.

Failures:   For me, the dungeons were not fun.  I think more time should have been taken planning what dungeons should play like without a holy trinity.  For me, there was not enough strategy involved and way too much dying. A group-finding tool might have been an improvement, as well.

LexStriker
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I kind of lost interest in GW2 after Lost Shores. I decided to wait and see if ANet at least tried to correct some of the issues they currently have with the game.

The biggest failure for me is how many players have abandon parts of the game. There is the inability to do dungeons because of the lack of other players. I knew one guy who waited two weeks to get a party together to do the first dungeon story mode. Areas are starting to thin out, and the more difficult events and skill point mobs required to explore the map may be a bit too difficult for one character. I am also an older player, and some of the content seems to be aimed at the younger crowd. The crafting and trading post are a big bust as well, imo. Just seems to me like much of the design here was not well thought out and needs to be adjusted.

Successes... the graphic art is terrific. There are a lot of hidden areas that require a bit of skill and problem solving to figure out. In general, GW2 is not a bad game... just has some rough edges.

However, a lot of small things can turn into one big one. So I will wait to see how GW2 progresses. Until then, I am on hold. Unfortunately, I have more than a few friends that have given up on GW2 and moved on. Hopefully I will not be forced to join them.

 

BrownFang Harbinger
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Although I like to fancy myself a whimsical imp of wit-filled positivity, I have to admit that I'm a bit of a complainer. So, I'll start with the rainbows and unicorns, then unleash the bile later.

Wins: Voluptuous norn wimmin & stout norn men. Tixx inclusiveness. Dynamic events. World versus world. Transmogrification. Charr kids. Sylvari with mushroom heads. "Feminist" NPC dialogue that bemoans human sexism.

The breadth of things to do is great for any meandering player like me who sets tentative goals on the fly and is always willing to drop everything to chase a Veteran Grawl down with random fervor. This is obviously aided by the cooperative play mechanics that make looting and node hunting less of a chore. Then there are the combo mechanics that bring players together nicely in the midst of combat. Those are quite tasty. The text chat system chimes in with a brisk offering of capabilities that keep loquacious fingers working when there aren't any baddies around that need killing. With all of these things in a beautiful looking world, I feel like I ought to be ecstatic every time I play because all of these things are evolutionary features spawning from the original Guild Wars that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Losses: Exclusionary game features/events. Cutscenes. Halloween. The Lost Shore. Orrian Zombie overdose. Bot Heaven. Ascended anything. Soulbound dyes. No built-in voice chat. Game spam from NPCs that fills the tiny mailbox. Camera not designed for platforming forced onto jumping puzzles not designed for realities of the game engine. Et cetera.

I'm conflicted about which bothers me the most, the plethora of bugs that made the past 4 months feel like an extended beta test or the lack of information provided in the game about how to play the game. I spent time in the game, as many others did, doling out information on character development, bugged events, navigation techniques and interface eccentricities to new players in text chat as if I was some strange form of spirit guide armed with tidbits left over from playing beta. In the mean time, there were trolls and griefers giving out misinformation and silent developers with videos full of Molyneux-sized promises.

The game's social networking expertise seems stuck in a retro gear that would have been awesome in 2000. This wouldn't be a sin, except for the fact that this is supposed to be a cooperative [social] action game with e-sport aspirations; yet, it can't muster the standard party and matchmaking skills of Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, League of Legends or Starcraft II.

Then there is the game's love of limitations and obfuscations that are designed to fight how players typically might play. For example, requiring loot to be manually picked up, like one might in an old rpg, rather than have it, and all rewards, automatically forwarded to player inventory, like any modern game with fast-paced action (God of War, Ratchet and Clank, Team Fortress). A similar touch is having no in-game system that records and reports damage per second while spewing out differing damage values in combat chat and over foes' heads, all in the name of "not playing the interface" while the interface spews out useless information.

rtommaso
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Successes: graphics, music

Failures: customer support (or the complete lack of), childish community

Ayelet
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The Failures:  

First and foremost the social systems.  There are very few guild tools available for guild management -- MotD not displaying to Guild Chat on login is inconceivable to me.  The only option for cross guild chat is the squad system and it is woefully inadequate since it doesn't allow the commander to offer an invitation to squad.  Influence is...  a really good idea that doesn't work for my guild.  At this point we have every single upgrade allowed and a surplus of 81,000 influence -- we continue to accrue it faster than we can spend it even though we have constant gathering and magic find bonuses active, because we're only allowed to build 2 upgrade items at a time.   But the most inexcusable social blunder is not allowing parties to join the grand Wintersday Finale.  It just doesn't make sense.

In gameplay broken dynamic events that sometimes span whole zones -- Timberline Falls has so many broken events it's insane, and it's been that way since the game was released.  The lack of challenge for max level characters through most of the world.  The fact that playing in WvW, something I dearly love to do, costs me money every single time --  one of my guildies played fractals levels 5 and 6 while I played WvW during the same time period.  When we were done they had 6 rares, an exotic, and a named exotic plus the fractal relics.  I had some hooves, some bones, a couple of greens and 28 badges of honor.  We both had large armor repair bills, but I also had losses due to buying siege equipment and paying for keep upgrades.   Rewards are better for high level fractals than anything else in the game, but trying to get a party for high level fractals is an exercise in frustration.  

The Mystic Forge.  I hate the fact that it exists in the game at all, and just having to walk past it to get from the bank to the TP makes me unhappy.  It's a piece of crap mechanic.  

Everything coming out of the gemstore being account is annoying.  I like to play the RNG chest game, but having nothing to do with the stuff that I don't want is a definite discouragement.  If there were never a cross over between gold in game and money in gems I could understand everything coming in account bound, but there is built in crossover.  If I can trade gems for gold why can't I trade things I buy with gems to other players for gold?  That someone could spend $50 for a mini is one thing -- that they can spend $50 for the chance at a mini, not receive it, and not be able to trade for it in-game causes a feeling of disgust. 

The Successes:

I love the stories and gameplay with Fractals of the Mists.  Dungeon play is great fun and party size is easily manageable so that instead of having some people doing content they have no interest in we can have 2 or more guild groups in dungeons with people doing the paths that they want to do.  I have actually done dungeons with the players I wanted to play with instead of having to wait around for the proper classes, which is definitely a step forward for MMOs.  

Being able to belong to multiple guilds is the best!  I can point my guildies toward other guilds that are exclusively sPvP or dungeon play and if they aren't finding what they want in my guild right at the moment they can switch to those guilds, socially play the content they want to play, and then come back to mine.  It's the best system ever.  (Multi-guild doesn't take away the need for alliances and cross-guild chat)

The game is beautiful.  The art team is incredibly talented and it's obvious that they take a lot of pride in their work.

Wintersday, Halloween, both great events with lots of new content.  The doors for Halloween were beautifully done -- excellent idea and so much fun to find out in the world.  The jump puzzles were gorgeous, challenging, and fun to try whether successful or not.  A-Net was really good at special events in Guiild Wars 1 and I expect this aspect of the game to just get better and better as time goes by.

I complain long and loudly about a lot of stuff in the game, but when it comes right down to it I still love it.  I can't wait to log in and I hate when I have to stop.  It's a great game.

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