I’ve taken a break from Guild Wars 2 before, partly as a result of burnout and partly because real life reared its ugly head. I have to admit, I can’t remember the last time I logged into my account, though I recall it was at the end of a long attempt to kill the Vale Guardian.
Part of the reason why I’ve stepped back from Guild Wars 2 is the fact that there’s very little left that I want to do and even with the expansion pack, much of what is on offer reminds me of what I haven’t accomplished rather than what I have.
Despite my love of the game and all I’ve accomplished (5 level 80 characters, all fully ascended with two legendary weapons and 3,000 gold floating around) I still feel pressure when I play. I’m constantly reminded of missing achievements, or collections that aren’t finished. Even the login page greets me with such “accomplishments”.
What frustrates me so much about Guild Wars 2 right now is the fact that all its systems and newly added content reek of desperately trying to keep you playing, rather than the game being fun enough that you want to. While such systems might sound obvious in an MMO, it’s not necessarily the case in other games. The cycle of newly added item collections, achievements, dailies, events on a repetitive timer and frustrating means of obtaining specific items is just exhausting to keep up with. Even the Gem Store and the constant addition of new cosmetic items to the Gem Store is maddening (for once, can we have a collection actually added to the game and obtained by, you know, playing, rather than getting out our credit card or handing over Gold on the Trading Post?).
There’s no doubt that I’ve had my fun in Guild Wars 2 and I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of hours playing it. But it’s fair to say that content delivery is far too slow, the cancellation of future legendary weapons has gone down like a lead balloon and the rejection of dungeons just a disaster. Despite the player base clawing for content (and more than happy to overlook ArenaNet’s stumbles) I’m still baffled by just how slow they are.
I’ll be the first to admit that providing enough content for any MMO audience is impossible, but crippling new systems you do deliver certainly isn’t the way to go about it (Scribing costs, anyone?). Achievement’s aren’t content. New item collections aren’t content. Redesigning existing content, isn’t “new” content. Heck, even bringing Super Adventure Box back isn’t new content (despite its popularity).
Perhaps the most bizarre thing about the state of Guild Wars 2 at the moment is that the mind boggles just as to how, a team of ArenaNet’s size, is struggling to deliver new content at a reasonable pace. I don’t have unrealistic expectations, nor do I lack the understanding for game development (yes it’s time consuming). My issue is that I suspect much of ArenaNet’s resources are not only allocated to the next expansion pack but also the Living World story. Considering the drain and the fact that it barely provides a few hours of entertainment, it begs the question as to whether or not there’s even value in it.
When I look at other MMO’s and see their steady and consistent delivery of content (with the exception of WildStar) it’s fair to level criticism at Guild Wars 2. How much time has been lost redesigning existing systems, that when they do arrive are worse or barely superior to what we had before?
I’m not suggesting Guild Wars 2 is a lost cause, but they have lost sight of what made the game fun. Getting it back will not only take time but a significantly different approach to design and delivery. Unfortunately and with current staff allocation, I’m not sure it’ll happen any time soon.
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