The recent Living Updates of late have been about a many different things but it all seems to focus on one major way of experiencing the playable content: zerging. The primary battle method of all Tyrians seems to be to gather up into a massive, disorganized blob and slamming into whatever happens to be in their way with a blinding array of particle effects and AoE attacks. This strategy takes away from the heart of the content, blinds us to the story and ultimately strips away the freedoms of players.
With each time I fall into a massive blob of people, in a mad rush to get from event to event, I feel myself caring less and less about the particular skills or my own particular ability to handle the content. I have a mass of thirty or so people who can pick up my slack and our combined force is typically enough to wrecking ball through anything. I don’t care, and I don’t think anyone else does, that there are about ten different enemy types with each having unique skills and strategies. When I’m packed with these people we just stampede from one enemy to the next.
Most of the time I have episodes of Archer up on my second monitor while I mindlessly follow a commander badge. The content we have been exposed to lately, that seems to encourage this zerg mindset, doesn’t seem to want our full attention. It has become all about the loot and how quickly we are killing things.
If we don’t get our loot, or if it is taking too long to kill a champion, then we are quick to point out some flaw in the system or among the other players. Of course there is a problem! The problem is that we, as players, are gladly falling into this mindset while the developers have to adapt. They try to make the content a bit harder which only encourages us to group up into zergs more. The developers are struggling to find a way to push us apart and we absolutely refuse this. This was proven in the original release of the Watchwork Knights by how we were completely ignoring how they were meant to be killed because we wanted the loot over the achievement or challenge.
This only brings me to the point that, during our thoughts that the only way to kill all the Knights was to rush from one to the next, people thought that if you weren’t optimized in a specific way and absolutely buffed then you were a hindrance to the Six Minutes to Knightfall achievement hunters. All the vitriol and hate that spewed over map chat after a failed Knightfall run really hammered home that you can play what you want but no one will like you unless you do it the best way. I personally felt awful when I ran my alts through the content, when I was writing a guide on how to provide the best AoE builds, because not all of my characters had the right gear for the zerg.
The problem is that, with the scarcity of significant drops, we feel a need to complete content as quickly as possible so that we can continue to try for those significant drops. The guys at ArenaNet have made a step in the right direction with the hour long timer on content that limits how quickly we can do certain things. However we’re still stuck in this mad rush to finish as much as we can. The feeling is if we aren’t killing fast enough then we are killing inefficiently.
During my time in the zerg I also realized I was missing massive chunks of story information as we rushed about. In the initial “Escape from Lion’s Arch” I couldn’t sit down and go through all the NPCs in one moment because if I wasn’t at the entrance to LA by the hour then I was going to miss my server. Not being on my server meant I likely will miss out on the best rewards. It took me about ten to twelve runs before I figured out that Heal-o-Tron was ordering some set of armored body while also facing possibly getting arrested a second time.
This only makes me question just how much I am missing in my desire to get as much of this limited-time loot from the current content. I am scared that I might miss some awesome little talk that hints to what is coming next but I am more scared that I won’t get a jetpack. I have to weigh what I want more here and I want a friggin’ jetpack more than I want to know about if we’re going to Maguuma or if LA will be rebuilt.
Seriously. You know I look good in that jetpack. I'll accept donations.
There are many solutions for this issue but I feel the proper way to incorporate the freedom to build diversely, get us involved in the story and experience challenging content would be to bring us more dungeons. Give us a dungeon that can only be completed every hour and you will see these particular issues be resolved. This, of course, means that we need a slightly ramped up chance at getting the exclusive loot but I think that is a worthwhile change in order to give the full experience ArenaNet wants to provide to players.
As many have said before me and many more will say after me: zerging sucks. That is the heart of my complaint with the content as of late and I know the guys at ArenaNet can do better. I want them to remind me that there is much more to the game than to farm for a slight chance to get an exclusive item. They promised this game has so much depth to it and I want them to remind me of that in the playable content.
Do you disagree? Agree? Let me know in the comments below or send me a message @GuildWars2Hub on Twitter. I’m always glad to hear what you have to say.