Sometimes, there are elements in a MMOG that just don't resonate in the same way for different types of gamers. For some players, these dynamics can be the core deciding factors that determine whether or not he or she
will enjoy that game. Guild
Wars 2 is no exception to this rule - as outside-the-box as
it is, it must still manage to meet the ineffable criteria of its players And you can't please everyone.
GW2's own uniqueness can have a divisive effect on players.
The things ArenaNet has done differently can generate either a love or hate reaction, or sometimes a little of both. This is also true among Ten Ton Hammer writers - while we do attempt to maintain objectivity, we are humans and
we do have our own opinions and biases. As proof, we have Gunky and Shayalyn debating the pros and
cons of the dynamic questing system, game immersion and playable races.
I'm all for new challenges and thinking outside the box, but there's a
reason the tried-and-true questing system in MMOs is so ubiquitous: it works, and players can
easily embrace it. In your article How
To Love GW2 (Even If You Don't), you more or less argue that the
player has to adapt to Guild Wars 2 to enjoy it, and that does seem to be the
case. The recommended strategy of embracing exploration and letting things
happen more or less haphazardly, gaining piecemeal XP from basically every
mouse click, just feels like screwing around to us crusty old-schoolers.
Some of us enjoy the process of loading up on quests, going out and
completing all of them, and then striding heroically back to town to
receive coins and loot. It's much more orderly than the hippy-dippy
whim-following of GW2.
The open-world PvE with the dynamic events instead of questing is neat
and all, and it does make the PvE game more immersive, but it can also
lead to a lot of boring waiting around for things to happen, or
aggravating repetition. Coming in at the tail end of a dynamic event, for
example, you may find a group killing a "boss" creature and realize that you're too late to
contribute, which means you have to either wait around for that event to re-pop
or go screw around elsewhere and come back. And occasionally, you have to
pass through the same area several times, getting caught in the middle of
looping dynamic events you may have already done many times. Both of these
aggravations only serve to break immersion rather than enhance it.
For a game that is supposed to be all groundbreaking and
genre-redefining, much of Guild Wars 2 is transparently derivative. The spirit of
Warcraft is very much alive in the character races. The names and faces
are different, and they've done away with Alliance vs. Horde, but the
"influence" is crystal clear.
You say that the standard MMO quest system works, and yet its been referred to as
the quest grind by many a gamer. Grinding out quests is sort of like
making the morning coffee day after day: you grind the beans, fill the
hopper, pour some water into the coffee maker, drink the brew youve
made...and then start all over again the next day. Drinking the coffee
(which Id relate to turning in quests for experience), is the only kick
you get. Unfortunately, theres that mind-numbing process you need to go
through day after day to get you to the caffeine.
I believe Guild Wars 2 cuts out the tedium and gets you straight to the
caffeine rush. If you want to call that screwing around, I suppose you
wouldnt be entirely wrong, but its screwing around with a purpose. If
you pay attention to your personal story quest line and to the world
around you, youll see that youre part of something bigger than just
helping a moa rancher drive off bandits or keeping a caravan safe as it
travels through a dangerous swamp. By the time you get to level 30 and
explore your first dungeon, youre part of a deep plot with a compelling
story. And, if youre like me, youre going to want to experience more of
As for dynamic events, if youre waiting around for boss mobs to pop or
for an event to repeat itself, youre not really making the most of your
experience--that just isnt how Guild Wars 2 works. Waiting for mobs or
events to spawn is only going to end in frustration. Instead, go harvest
some nodes or climb to the top of a vista. Kill a variety of bad guys and
pursue your daily objectives (theres some great xp and a nice cash reward
for doing that.) Check out some new areas. You might even head to other
racial areas and explore them. While youre doing this, events will spawn
around you--just find them on the map and head in their direction. After a
while, you get a feel for which ones are too far away for it to be worth
your while to travel to, but the good news is that there will always be
Ill concede that the dynamic events system, while very cool, could still
use some tweaking. I would appreciate more events, and perhaps even more
variety so that the same events dont happen in the same places repeatedly. But for my money (which is, incidentally, already paid and will not
need to be paid again thanks to GW2s subscription-free model), the DE
system is still the best thing going.
As for your final point, youre the first person Ive heard suggest that
there are elements of WoW clone in Guild Wars 2, so congrats on that
dubious honor. You find the character races derivative? Hmm. If anything
theyre stock fantasy races with a twist, and not anything that directly
mimics World of Warcraft. Weve got humans (few fantasy games lack them);
the smug, technically superior asura (EverQuest had gnomes well before WoW
existed, and gnomes have been part of folklore for centuries); the
tree-hugging plantlike sylvari (Wood elves, anyone? Again, were harking
back to folklore and Tolkien and EQ and things that predate WoW
significantly); the tall brawlers from the north, the norn (because
fantasy games need Vikings. Period.); and the warrior cats, the charr (EQ
had the vah shir, and the Wing Commander space epic had the Kilrathi long
before WoW had tribal cows.) So, there are certainly elements of the
fantasy RPG in Guild Wars 2, but opting not to reinvent fantasy genre
races from the ground up is hardly a crime; in fact, its an accepted practice.
Gunky's opposition to "screwing around" as the main source of XP remains
unabated, while Shayalyn's adoration of the the game's unrestricted
freedom continues unchallenged. The war wages ever on: the haters will
continue to find new things that annoy them, and the fans will claim those
things to be the ultimate reasons to play the game.
Which team do you play for? How do you feel about GW2's dynamic questing,
game immersion and playable races? Let us know in our comments!
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Guild Wars 2 Game Page.