With the Halloween themed Mad King’s Day coming, ArenaNet announced their release plans Guild Wars 2 all the way into November. What is the update schedule? Halloween today, Christmas release on December 16th and finally we get the Living World returning November 4th. This schedule is incredibly stretched for the boast Guild Wars 2 likes to make that they update every two weeks. Is this acceptable or will the “point of no return” be too late for players?
It’s a Wonderful Holiday in Tyria
Everyone who has ever played Guild Wars 2 will tell you that Halloween is one of the best holiday themed events in the game. The incredibly frustrating Mad King’s Clock Tower is the best jumping puzzle in the game and there are many stories to tell about the hours spent failing at making that jump just right. The Mad King’s Labyrinth was a nice change of pace of gameplay for players and was the set-up for players to craft new weapons since launch. Last year they introduced a nice spin to the story with Bloody Prince Thorn and his hand in the story of the Mad King. They have done so well to create a very atmospheric and exciting environment for Halloween.
Wintersday, while not as impressive, was still wonderfully crafted and evolved over the last two years. Just the nice touch of putting the reoccurring character Job-O-Tron as a Christmas themed well-wisher was the delight to many players. While it didn’t change drastically as Mad King’s Day did between the two years, the guys at ArenaNet did make sure that it still felt a little fresh and evolved with the world.
To put it simply: ArenaNet knows how to throw a holiday-themed event. They did it well in Guild Wars and they proved they could still do it.
It’ll Be Tacky to Dress as Rytlock for Halloween
The previous years’ highlights and ArenaNet's impressive history of holiday events make this year's festivities come as a bit of a disappointment to me. We learned yesterday that this year’s main holiday events are simply rehashed content from last year but with “refreshed rewards”. While it is nice to finally get a content update since August it isn’t going to be anything veteran players haven’t played before. It will be another item skin grind to keep veteran players somewhat satiated until November.
In addition to the frustrations of rehashed content players are essentially told that there are only four to five Living World releases left for this year. We might be lucky that season two of the Living World could extend into 2015 but I wouldn’t hold my breath. It seems the finale will come before or after Christmas and then players are going to be left wondering what will come next.
I Hope Santa Brings Content This Year
In an article our own David brought up there is a serious lack of content to keep a player really engrossed in the game. This year, since I had been playing the game almost exclusively since launch, I had been hoping that we would final have more content for veteran players. There needs to be something more than the Living World to draw along a player who has done everything. There needs to be more than the zerg-fest that is World versus World to keep a player engrossed between updates.
All players have had is the Living World to stay in the game and, as David said, it has come to the point that nobody really plays Guild Wars 2 as their primary game anymore due to that. What is worse is that ArenaNet doesn’t seem to be aware of that, or they just don’t’ care. In the first season of the Living World, while players were still learning the game and trying to build a Legendary Weapon, there were twenty different episodes. These didn’t include the holiday events or “break” events that were still designed and catered to the Living World ideal.
This season, after players have begun to master the game and have built multiple Legendaries, we are looking at a prediction of nine Living World updates at most. Holiday events are rehashed and “break” updates like the Super Adventure Box are set aside for what seems like nothing. We’re only getting half the updates and no substantial, long lasting content to keep players engrossed. Sure, we got a new world map, but we’ve had more than enough time to master it by now.
And a Happy New Year to All
So what is all of this development time and effort going towards if not to more Living World updates and holiday updates? What is taking up all these resources that cause a release schedule to come to a grinding halt and cuts reliable and long lasting content?
The Community Development Initiatives on the official forums are a hint. With these open discussions talking about the RNG of loot, conditions and the potential of Guild versus Guild there is hope that all those resources are going towards back end work. It is no big secret that Guild Wars 2 has some issues that have been persisting since launch. With this long break and shift of release schedule it could be that we could see these issues finally resolved.
Alternatively there are hints of an expansion on the horizon. Guild Wars 2 is long due for such a thing and players are eagerly waiting for more lasting content. With an expansion we could see a solution to veterans not knowing what to do and still providing the fixes mentioned above.
Whatever the case might be it is an unfortunate truth that this holiday season will be a letdown for fans who have come to love Guild Wars 2 for their constant dare to continue pushing a living world. This announcement is a major blow for the developers who have boasted a constantly evolving world. A truly living world is more than just a change of scenery and some new lines of dialogue, it is about living up to the needs of the players as well.