GW2: One step forward, two steps back for the genre

Keen has a report card out for GW2, and while I think the grades are a bit high, I agree overall with his assessment. In short, GW2 is a good game, but a month in its pretty clear GW2 is a very shitty MMO. If you are keeping score at home, you will notice a trend here in the last few years.

I’ll start with this, because I think it’s important to keep in mind when considering any ‘MMO’: If the ‘MMO’ does not have a sub fee, it’s the developers telling you they don’t believe people will find the game good enough to pay $15 a month for. PR can spin it any way they want, but the fact remains that you only stop being a sub game (or never start) if you suspect or know people won’t give you the money. WoW is WoW because enough people still believe it’s worth it, and that is why Blizzard still has their money tree. F2P ‘works’ because a few people can’t help themselves and spend a fortune while most don’t spend a dime. That should tell you all you need to know about the MMO in question.

Back to GW2. As mentioned numerous times, it’s a solid game. Most things work, it looks good, and occasionally it will do something unexpected or above-average to surprise you. Yay.

The problems hit at level 80, which unfortunately comes almost instantly so long as you login a few times. Once you hit 80 and hit the AH once, you are done progressing. Yes, there is still a lot of ‘stuff’ to do, but none of it is going to open anything new up for you or give you new toys to play with. The only form of progression is collecting cute outfits to play dress-up with, and if that’s your thing, awesome, but I suspect for most it’s not. It certainly has not been historically on this side of the ocean.

On top of the above, which is very critical, is the fact that while GW2 has a lot of content, almost all of it is the same. ‘Dynamic’ events are not only not dynamic, but for the most part are just reskins of each other. If you have seen one “collect X” event, you have seen them all. Kill invaders, collect stuff, kill big bad. Which ‘chain’ did I just describe? Half of them, in all zones.

And not only is the content just reskinned, but the method to defeat it is the same since about level 30 as well. Regardless of your class, you will likely end up using the same skills and tactics against everything, and those tactics will always work. For most events, it’s as simple as “spam big AoE attack to tag mobs, collect loot”. On occasion you will need to dodge, maybe. And yes, it’s like that until the final Orr zone, so don’t buy into the “it gets more complicated later” BS either.

For all its hype, the combat system in GW2 might be one of the worst in the themepark genre, if only because of its simplicity and the games total lack of strategic encouragement. You will literally be hitting the same buttons over and over again, brainlessly, and not only will you succeed, but you will actually perform at almost max efficiency. At least in WoW or other themeparks the facerolling only gets you to 50% dps or so, and there is/was content where that was not good enough. In GW2, regardless of what you do, it’s not only always good enough, but doing better is almost impossible.

WvW should be the save grace and the reason to stick around, but again with zero form of progression, the ‘why’ kicks in pretty quickly, and what little ‘server pride’ you might muster up, the queues and off-hours scoring will do a great job of crushing. The scoring is perhaps the saddest part if you think about it: more points are scoring in off-hours than during primetime, which means the ‘best’ servers are not those with the best players, but those that organized to cover all time zones. Makes splitting EU and NA servers apart a total joke.

Worst still is the fact that, because of the combat system and the tiny maps, playing WvW is only a slightly different experience than grinding a generic ‘dynamic event’. Most of it is still AoE spam, and most of the time doing just enough is all that is required. Contrast WvW results to which Alliances succeed in EVE (and how), or which guilds did well in a game like Darkfall, and it becomes very clear that WvW is highly flawed not just at the top, but all the way to its core. There are ways to make MMO PvP work, and what GW2 has is very, very far from that.

Which brings up the ultimate question; would I pay for new content? I think the answer is no, because I don’t imagine the new content playing like anything but more of the same due to the game’s core flaws, and I still have some of that content untouched as is should I want it, which I don’t.

It’s sadly funny that the more current-day devs try to evolve MMOs, the further they go from what actually makes the games work.

65 Responses to GW2: One step forward, two steps back for the genre

  1. Ouch

    On the other side…would I be banned from here if I said I still like Lord of the Rings Online and DDO and the way Turbine does the F2P model?

    • SynCaine says:

      Do you like them enough to drop $15 a month?

      • Thats a tough one. I HAVE in the past done that. For dumb things like bank storage and shared vault and expansion quests. But then after everything settled down I didnt spend as much. I guess LOTRO I would probably pay a monthly fee because I am a Middle Earth nerd, but DDO no.

        • SynCaine says:

          Which is kind of my point with the whole thing. DDO, good enough for free, not good enough to pay. LoTRO? Maybe.

          Turbine was smart to go F2P with those, but it would have been smarter to just makes both worth a sub for the players. That, of course, is hard :)

  2. bhagpuss says:

    I’d pay a sub for GW2 if one was required. Can’t say I’m going to complain that they don’t want to take my money, though.

    I don’t think it’s at all clear that “GW2 is a very shitty MMO”. What I do think is that MMO players, or at least many of those who also write about the genre, have insanely high expectations.

    If GW2 benchmarks at “very shitty”, which currently-running MMOs would you place above it and which of those would you rate as “good” or better as MMOs rather than as games? And what do you think are the chances of MMOs being released which will meet or exceed your own personal expectations?

    I don’t think GW2 is anything earth-shattering, but it’s keeping me amused and probably will for quite a while. Of course, I am very easily amused, which is just as well because the chances of many MMOs turning up which are radically better than GW2 seem pretty remote.

  3. adammtlx says:

    “For all its hype, the combat system in GW2 might be one of the worst in the themepark genre…”

    I feel so vindicated. And $50 richer.

  4. Gank says:

    I’m not sure why you’re obsessed with every ‘MMO’ being shit, except of course for the ones you play and then they are great and can do no wrong (ie EVE). I guess, in your defense, most of them are shit so it’s usually warranted.

    If we look at Guild Wars as a game, instead of an MMO, how does it do then? Can people expect value for money? Does it have to be rated as an MMO? I guess they kind of have it coming if that’s the way they are marketing it but is it that important what it’s called?

    I’m not playing GW2 but I did play GW1. I came into it late and had good fun. It was the first online game I played and I didn’t realize it wasn’t a ‘real MMO’. I enjoyed the lack of grind and mainly stuck with PVP. I got my money’s worth out of it no matter what it was classified as, and in the end, that’s all that matters to me.

    • SynCaine says:

      I’m obsessed because I’d like more options in terms of non-shit MMOs. I’m crazy like that.

      If GW2 was hyped as a fun little multiplayer sRPG, I’d have close to no issue with it for $60. Clean up some of the issues (broken events or skill points), cut out the tacked-on MMO stuff (PvP, AH), design the entire 1-80 experience to make sense rather than it being 1-30 and then 50 more levels of the same, sell DLC that actually expands gameplay like 1-30 did rather than what 30-50 does, and I’m cool with Anet.

      None of the above happened, hence today’s post.

      • Pitrelli says:

        I’m surprised its taken people so long to discover they dislike an MMO, generally I can tell after the first 20 or so levels and the fact gw2 pretty much opens up the full experience (wvw, PvP and pve basis) so early makes it even more surprising.

        Still nice to see different opinions. I myself am very happy with the game and it will certainly keep me occupied for the foreseeable future.

    • Dril says:

      “If we look at Guild Wars as a game”

      That seems like an atrocious idea when the core gameplay could simply be characterised as SMITE, but worse, and SMITE is itself MOBA (especially LoL) gameplay done slightly worse than most competitors with the wrong viewing angle.

      • SynCaine says:

        See I’d look at it more like a sRPG (Fallout or TES, but worse) than a game based on gameplay like LoL. Compared to LoL gameplay, GW2 is absolute trash.

        • Dril says:

          It could well be the case that that’s a better analogy, personally I hate SRPGs so the only one I’ve ever spent time on is Skyrim (and even then I didn’t get very far through it; such a pity TESO won’t be anything like it). The reason I chose SMITE is because GW2 has that same uncanny feel where you can understand how something *could* work (the best example I could think of being Tryndamere’s whirlwind dash and a greatsword Warrior’s clone skill, or a 1h sword Warrior’s leap and Jax’s leap) but it feels so much clunkier and grating when it’s in a third person viewing angle as opposed to the top-down RTS view.

        • SynCaine says:

          Regarding combat, it goes all the way back to the lessons of WoW in 2004, and with Blizzard nailing how it felt. It’s why (one reason) LoL is better than the other MOBA titles; when you press the key the expected result happens, while when you press the key in something like GW2, the expected result happens sometimes, but maybe it’s a little slower, or too quick, or happens but not exactly how you expected it to go.

          Skyrim is terrible in this regard, swinging just feels so wrong in that game. Of course, Skyrim has a world, stories, and content that makes the GW2 equivalent look like the story of Pong, so the swinging issue is a minor annoyance instead of being a showstopper, while in GW2 the combat is a major factor, and it being so blah hurts the game big-time.

  5. Dirtysouth says:

    I agree events and wvw are aoe spam. They provide pve and pvp content for casual players. If you think you can win 1 v 1 in spvp mindlessly smashing keys (on anything but thief) you are mistaken. The same applies for explorable dungeons. They were not made for pugs but everyone wants to pug them and bitch about too hard.
    As for no new toys if you need gear grind to enjoy an mmo this is not the game for you. I do wish gear would break or something giving crafters a bigger role.

    • kalex716 says:

      Out of my entire time playing WvW, i admit, i only got into a 1v1 about 2 times.

      I won one, and barely lost one. While I would love to have been able to do it more, to expose strengths or weaknesses in my build and my techniques and strategys, i went hungry forever after that first fateful week where i had those only 1v1 experiences, never to encounter the circumstance in question ever again.

      Everything after that has been aoe zerg fest. Borrrriiiing.

  6. GenGin says:

    For me already GW1 was a Counter Strike in a RPG setting.
    Now I would say that GW2 is a synthesis of MMO Leveling and Battle Field 3 Endgame.

    You’re loggin in, doing some sPvP or WvW Stuff and log out.

    When I thake that view I’m absolutely satiesfied with my EUR 55 investment.

    • kalex716 says:

      The queue’s right now means the last time i tried to log in (friday night), get some pvp in GW2 and log out i couldn’t because i waited about 30 mins, had some network hiccup that caused my cahracter to get booted back to character select, then had to start back of the line.

      Waited 45 more mins and then decided i’d rather do something else.

  7. Mekhios says:

    I’ve gotten good value out of my $60 with GW2. My guild is still playing it, we’re running regular 5-man’s, combat is still as fun as ever.

    “GW2 is a very shitty MMO.” One of the better MMO’s released since WoW with some great new game mechanics and this is how you dismiss it?

    Time to stop bothering with MMO’s Syncaine. You will never be satisfied.

    • Xyloxan says:

      I hope he’s NOT completely satisfied with any game. That would be the end of his blogging and therefore a regrettable loss to a sizable community of players following his blog.

    • silvertemplar says:

      @kalex

      You’re sounding like someone who’s “still” playing some ancient MMO. It’s evident that GW2 is a 2-3 monther, especially when people are already saying things like “my guild is still playing it” and “we are still doing regular 5-mans” …kinda sounds like you’re already waiting for something better

      …and that’s the biggest issue Arenanet is going to be battling from now on. Keeping people playing or coming back. At least they were clever and didn’t make all kinds of predictions surrounding how many subs they need over a year ala “SWTOR” , when most people are going to quit in 2 months.

      GW2 is unfortunately designed to have an end, players are going to get bored and they will say things like “hey, my guild are still playing, whoa” .

      WvWvW is an illustrative and amplified example of all this. Watch how , unless Arenanet adds new maps and new objectives and well alot more purpose to it all , it becomes ghost lands. In fact just log in early mornings and do WvWvW on your own, that’s how it will be in prime time.

      Warhammer had the exact same problem…..and they at least had alot more variety with the RvR maps. Didn’t stop it becoming empty because no one saw a reason to bother…

  8. tithian says:

    Keen also didn’t touch sPvP, which is where the game really shines. It’s not surprising really, since this is the evolution of the old arenas and gvg, in which Anet has tons of experience balancing and creating a meta environment.That is where you really see how much work has been put into balancing classes and the like.

    WvW got all the cover and hype, but meh… the zerg mentality is king in environments like that and GW2 would be no exception. Path of least resistance and all…

    In any case, for me the initial investment was worth it just for Structured PvP. I just plan on playing the game like LoL, log in, get some matches, log out.

    • Dril says:

      Why would you play sPvP when you could play a MOBA?

      I’m struggling to understand how a game can really shine when there are other games that are totally free that do 5v5 PvP better.

      • tithian says:

        Because the “community” of MOBAs makes me want to stab kittens in the face.

        And besides, sPvP still has an “RPG” feel to it with customizing builds and the controls are much more to what I’m used to. Using click-to-move is completely… bleeergh.

        • Dril says:

          Interesting.

          I did actually think along the same lines (“if only LoL had guilds and a reason to be in them”) purely because ALL of my friends bar one hate/won’t play LoL and it does get a bit stale playing the matchmaking lottery on what kind of people you’ll get.

        • Mekhios says:

          “Because the “community” of MOBAs makes me want to stab kittens in the face.”

          +1 to that. I put MOBA communities (if they even deserve to be called communities) in the same class as the Counterstrike kiddie population. A transient population of foul-mouthed angry crackheads. My few experiences playing games like LoL confirmed this. We have a LoL fanatic in our guild and I don’t know why he even plays the game for entertainment as he spends most of his matches raging.

  9. HebusOlivier says:

    I do not understand the argument : “if you are not ready to pay a sub that means the game is not good enough.”

    I do not think that any game will ever be enough to make pay *me* a sub. I am not sufficiently interested in game neither have sufficient time to find paying a sub interesting. And I hate to pay a sub – even if it is more interesting that to pay directly a biggest price.

    I want to pay when *I* want and not when the sub has already been paid. But I will gratefully pay for the next content, when I have finished the first one.

    About late game, I cannot say, I am only lvl25 on my main and 5 on my second. And the “short” path to lvl80 is a clear win for me : I may be able to reach it !

    I think GW2 is a great game for casual. But yes you are right : the small Canada Dry feature for hardcore are not enough to keep them interested. And even sometimes reduce the game for casual.

    3 years ago they say ” If you are a MMO player you should try GW2. But if you are not a MMO player you should really try it”. I would have suppressed the first sentence !

  10. coppertopper says:

    “a month in its pretty clear GW2 is a very shitty MMO”
    Wrong. It actually brought back the social aspect (the MM part of MMO) that has been disected from the genre since 2004.

    “WoW is WoW because enough people still believe it’s worth it”
    Wrong. WoW attained critical mass, not unlike the first boyband, and none of its knockoffs can touch it due to the momentum it gained by being the first to offer that certain catchy ‘it’.

    • SynCaine says:

      AoE farming an ‘event’ on a loop is social now? Huh.

      Replace WoW with EVE in the example. When exactly did EVE hit critical mass? How is it something 10 years old still has 400k subs paying $15 a month?

      • coppertopper says:

        Yes because AOE farming events can’t be done solo – it only works if you have people spread around to help soak up the damage, and rez you when inevitably aggro turns your way.

        EVE is a 1 of a kind. There are no other EVEs, unless you like robots. And you were the one who used WoW as the example not me. I wouldnt pay a dime for WoW, but GW2 – worth a sub.

        • SynCaine says:

          Whether you believe GW2 is worth a sub or not is missing the point. Anet believes it is not, hence no sub.

          And my definition of being social in an MMO is not standing near other players (who might as well be bots) and wordlessly facerolling through content ‘together’. That’s about as social as the DF in WoW, except the ‘instance’ in GW2 is a little bigger but the rewards are a lot worse.

      • coppertopper says:

        Also what do you think triggers those events? Its players congregating or moving together.

      • coppertopper says:

        I guess by your Definition then Dust 514 is set to fail as its ftp. Or maybe CCP sees they are entering a crowded marketplace so attune their financial strategy accordingly? Or are you now going to change your definition of what makes ftp a successful strategy? Anet made that choice years ago – they werent shooting for a niche like CCP with EvE or greek dudes with Darkfail, so they entered a crowded marketplace against the 800lb gorrilla from a strong stance of no sub, non-pay-to-win cash shop, and a higher quality product then 99% of Wow’s competitors. The result? Overwhelming financial and critical success out of the gate.

        • Syl says:

          @syncaine
          You’re the one who picked copper’s comment on the social aspect and just went with ‘events faceroll’. the social aspect shows itself in many areas of the game – hence the link which runs basically contrary to that. I experienced a lot more of what kotaku described there thus far in GW2.

          the dungeon difficulty is an addendum lest we not forget that completely….

        • coppertopper says:

          Didnt really want to get into definitions of ‘social aspect’ and ‘what is an mmo’… I just meed to start a blog and let ither bastards comment sarcastically to me instead of bringing it to other peoples head spaces.

    • Liore says:

      The social aspect?! Whaaaat? I levelled to 12 on launch weekend, about 5 hours of the game, and no one spoke to me and I spoke to no one.

      That Kotaku article is silly too. So they don’t actively hate seeing another player, and that is what counts for “social” now, huh? What a bold new world for “massively multiplayer” games, where the best we can expect is a bare minimum of not actively despising our fellow players.

      There is nothing in that article to indicate that they wouldn’t feel the same happiness, and the same interaction, if they came across a helpful NPC.

      • coppertopper says:

        Well most other mmo’s encourage a competative race in PvE. In GW2 everything is shared – resource nodes, mob kill credit, ect. Even zerging events brings rewards for all. It makes for a cooperating atmosphere – map chat is far more ‘hey come over here there is a boss mob guarding a rich copper node’ then typical global chat seen in other mmos.

      • Aerynne says:

        That has not been my experience. For whatever reason, I have had numerous experiences with players in GW2 that simply would not have happened in other games. For example, a friend and I were in a cave looking for chest. A third player helpfully pointed out the best jumping route to us (after we bumbled about for a bit). When the “chest” turned out to be fake (and a death trap to boot), he left while my friend and I continued to poke around. We eventually found the passage to the real treasure, at which point we sent him a tell advising him that there is more to that cave than he originally saw. He worked his way back and the three of us eventually got to the chest (and all promptly died, but that is another story).

        Not sure why this couldn’t happen in other games, but I think coppertopper is probably correct. GW2 simply is not competitive the way other MMOs are. Would we have called back that third player if we risked losing chest loot to him? Would he have pointed out the best jumping route?

        • SynCaine says:

          Are you going to care about chest loot once you (easily) get exotic 80s?

          Again, 1-80 GW2 is fun. It just falls completely apart at 80, which unfortunately comes very quickly.

  11. musik says:

    Quote: “If the ‘MMO’ does not have a sub fee, it’s the developers telling you they don’t believe people will find the game good enough to pay $15 a month for. PR can spin it any way they want, but the fact remains that you only stop being a sub game (or never start) if you suspect or know people won’t give you the money. ”

    I have been following this game since it was first announced in 2008. It promised no subscription fee. No one knew if someone would pay a sub at that point, the base for the game was not finished, barely started.

    What can you extract from that? This game is intentionally designed without a sub fee. The target audience includes those that are not willing to pay a sub fee.

    What else is wrong with your idea of a sub fee? Many games have made more money once they have changed to a cash shop sustained model. Something that only works if you have no sub fee. The amount of people willing to pay the sub fee is not relevant, it is the relation of people willing to pay a sub fee and the amount of money these people are willing to pay in general.

    Quote: “The problems hit at level 80, which unfortunately comes almost instantly so long as you login a few times. Once you hit 80 and hit the AH once, you are done progressing.”

    Actually, the problem is some people buy a game without knowing anything about it. I bought this game partially because of that exact reason. No item spiral was even part of the hype. You actually have people complaining that it is to hard to get geared. And those people have some sort of argument, considering there was not supposed to be a gear treadmill at all. You don’t have any basis for an argument. You should just inform yourself next time. That is all.

    Quote: “WvW should be the save grace and the reason to stick around, but again with zero form of progression, the ‘why’ kicks in pretty quickly”

    Now it is just getting silly. Design manifesto: we want you to play because you are having fun, not because you need to progress. And then you go around saying the game didn’t live up to the hype. Seems to me, you just didn’t understand the hype.

    To resume: No GW2 is not your game. And that is fine, no game suits everybody. It’s not the games fault though and your main problems are concerning things that were advertised. You could have known if you had informed yourself. You could have waited to buy the game until you get an opinion from someone with similar gaming tastes. Bottom line: GW2 is a game some love and some hate, your disappointment was inevitable and your own fault.

    • SynCaine says:

      Whether you start from day one or the day after launch, deciding to go F2P over sub is still a decision you make, and says something about your game.

      Now, if you want to read it differently than “we believe people won’t pay $15 a month for this month after month”, that’s fine. As for games making more money after going F2P, have you seen a recent press release from any of them? Everyone is familiar with the day-after-conversion PR release, but what about after? I can tell you how well Zynga is doing quarter to quarter.

      Also you confuse progression with a gear grind. That’s just one kind, but there are many other forms of progression that many other MMOs have used successfully for years (and those games are successful, weird huh). My point was that GW2 lacks ANY progression beyond playing dress-up at 80. That’s not exactly how the MMO genre works, which Anet claims GW2 is a part of.

      Finally I must have missed the part where Anet advertised WvW as a queue-fest where the winner is determined by who better coordinates to ensure they have a solid Aussie force. But I guess that design flaw is somehow my fault too? WvW, totally working as intended right?

      • musik says:

        While it does say something about your game, it says nothing about the quality, but the target audience. If they are willing to spend a lot more than your monthly sub, you are better off removing it and putting in an ingame store. If your target audience is not inclined to pay a sub fee in general (which an overwhelming part of the GW1 community is not), you are better off starting without an ingame shop. If your audience has a P2W stigmata and likes paying per month, you are better off sticking with a sub fee. You see how this has nothing to do with the quality of the game?

        To your “progression” problems: There are 2 forms of progression: one is number based, the other is story based. We knew the gear based progression would not last for long (that is, if we informed ourselves prior to playing). We knew the story would lead us through level 80, but of course can’t last forever.
        Also, you are insinuating a game that has sold 2 million copies 1 month after release is not succesful. What is left? Appearance, and titles. I could have told you this 1 year ago. Again, the problem is not a lack of progression, the problem is people not informing themselves what they are buying. As unimaginable as you might find this, some people like this approach. It has a target audience. It’s just not you.

        As for insinuating that GW2 is not succesful: you expected it to sell more than 2 million copies in a month?

        And finally, you seem to have missed the part where queues for a full map are… well, not avoidable. Did you ask yourself why there are queues? Arenanet did not predict the huge interest in WvW. Why not? Because most players seemed to hate open World PvP. Turns out, it’s not open world PvP they hate, but the way it has been implemented before. So while WvW is obviously having problems and a lot of people are complaining, They are complaining because they love it and want to play it. Not because they hate it (which was the reason they complained in SWToR).

        I am not saying this game is perfect and has no problems. It is full of problems, You just didn’t pick what was wrong. Not having a sub fee is a plus in the case of GW2. Not having the progression you yourself know and love was something you could have known from the start. And WvW queues… What are you going to do about queues? You could have opted for giving a pure opinion article, where you describe why you yourself don’t like something, you could have pointed out issues that everyone sees, but you opted for ranting about your own lack of information and your sense of entitlement to be able to skip the queue

        • SynCaine says:

          If I define MMO quality by how long a game entertains me (retention) (because we are talking MMOs right, the endless adventure genre?), then GW2 has failed. If I judge its quality as I would Skyrim or LoL, then it gets a meh (as Skyrim/LoL are far superior in non-MMO ways to GW2).

          Your ideas one the forms of progression are wrong. See my original response. Or just look at progression in EVE to get an idea. Numbers are just one form, and I don’t know wtf story has to do with MMO progression.

          SW:TOR sold more than 2m boxes. Is that game a success? Now maybe Anet planned all along for GW2 to last a month or so in terms of content like SW:TOR, but then why call it an MMO? Why not just do what they did with GW1 and state outright they are not making an MMO?

          As to the ‘surprise’ of WvW, that’s a joke. The only feature of long-term interest to MMO players with GW2 was WvW, and everyone knew that. Look at all the pre-planning and websites that sprang up around GW2 just focused on WvW. So no, sorry, but the queues and off-hours scoring is a major design flaw, not just “oh well never could have predicted this, all good” BS like you are trying to write it off as.

        • musik says:

          Quote:”If I define MMO quality by how long a game entertains me (retention) (because we are talking MMOs right, the endless adventure genre?), then GW2 has failed.”

          That is a valid personal opinion.

          Quote:”Your ideas one the forms of progression are wrong.”

          That is pure bullshit. Someone likes something else than you, so he is in the wrong? I said it before I’ll say it again: there is a request for the progression GW2 offers, you are just not part of it. If you state a wish for no game to be like this, you are trying to deny other people what they want. I personally hate WoW, EVE and all those, in my opinion, grindy MMO’s. Do I call them bad? Yes, since I think they are, Do I think people shouldn’t play them? Hell no, everyone has a different taste, and there is a market for it. I will just choose not to be part of it. Tolerance is an important value and you are expressing a pretty big deficit in that department right now.

          Quote: “As to the ‘surprise’ of WvW, that’s a joke. The only feature of long-term interest to MMO players with GW2 was WvW, and everyone knew that.”

          Correction: the only long-term interest a progression centered player like yourself could see is WvW. What you don’t understand or perhaps truely don’t know is not inexistent. The fact that only 30% have queued for WvW, shows the majority seems to be interested in other stuff.

          You are trying to speak for a whole niche of gamers with one voice, do you really think that is clever? Do you really think everyone that plays WoW, plays it for the same reason? I am getting the feeling you have some idea of “true MMO player” in your head, I can’t explain this ignorance to a genre that has so diverse players with so diverse motivations any other way.

          Your way of seeing things is totally valid, but it is not the only one, the one to rule them all.

          And like I said before, your critique is uncalled for, since those are the points that were advertised and hyped by a lot of people.

        • SynCaine says:

          Progression is not an opinion. Either a game has it or it does not, and the length of said progression can be measured (assuming no regression system exits).

          GW2 progression is incredibly short, not just for an MMO but for a game in general. Skyrim or Fallout have longer progression curves. In GW2 once you are 80 with lvl80 exotics, you are done progressing. You can’t get stronger, you can’t get new abilities, and you can’t open new content. Not only that, but you can’t get weaker. Gear does not break, you can’t lose XP, and nothing you do in-game cuts you off from content.

          I understand this is by design. My point is it’s shitty design for an MMO, because an MMO should not have an implied “Game Over” screen. Watch what happens to player activity once the masses hit 80, it won’t be pretty. Of course there won’t be a disastrous PR release stating subs have dropped by 90%, but other metrics will reflect it. (And I’m sure Anet fans will write-off Xfire as being inaccurate, just like WoW fans did when that game was losing people…)

          If you are fine with a Game Over screen, cool. But that stretches the definition of an MMO to comical proportions, and is not good design if your goal is to retain people, which is what MMOs attempt to do.

  12. Anonymous says:

    flawed logic is troll material

    why ppl keep reading this pos blog is beyond me

  13. Syl says:

    GW2 is a shitty MMO? well, that means it’s in great company huh ;)

    I think you’re drawing the wrong conclusions from the F2P model; as musik said, GW2 was always intended as such. even IF the devs thought their game couldn’t do well enough for a sub, that doesn’t say anything about the quality of GW2 – it only says something about their judgement. which may be completely off in that particular case. you yourself posted jibes at ANet for being apparently overwhelmed by the sheer number of players and popularity of the game. so, would players pay a sub for it? I asked that exact question lately and the majority of reactions was positive. that’s hardly representative, but it still shows the game is that good in the eyes of some of its audience. maybe its really untapped potential of ANet – or they have a better plan with things to come.

    whatever you might think makes B2P/F2P inferior games per se – an MMO launched today has a much different market reality than WoW did 8 years back. you completely ignored that in your extreme assessment which is quite the oversight for anyone caring to be analytical. I wouldn’t name SWTOR or TSW as good examples for the current situation but ANet have probably shown a lot of foresight back when they started developing GW2. instead of ‘try and see’, maybe fail / maybe succeed with subs, they tackled the problem from an entirely different angle. and why not?

    GW has always done its own thing and never appealed to the kind of mainstream that WoW conquered or defined. GW2 may be more mass market, but it is still in many ways a different game not trying to appeal to those who are looking for traditional tropes, such as group setup and linear progression. I don’t know what previews you were reading, but my expectations were fully met in GW2. and for many more reasons than just dresses – no matter how often you like to highlight that particular feature you personally just don’t care for. thank god WoW does not have its leagues of transmogging junkies.

    • SynCaine says:

      I agree with the main article. GW2 does indeed work like they say in terms of player interaction and the whole positive/negative reaction aspect.

      Once people hit 80 I just don’t think that’s really going to matter. Again, the 1-80 journey is well done, it’s just amazingly short and then the entire game comes to a grinding halt. That is not very MMO-like, and my main issue.

      • Syl says:

        Thats the “endgame problem” many were weary of. but then, endgame too the way people expect it is a concept WoW put a major stamp on. am not surprised that in this area too GW2 goes a different way that simply will not appeal to more traditional players. if you think about 1-80 as the journey and then see a halt, that is already a linear way of looking at things. I’m not saying there’s a ton more to do at 80 than before, in fact there really isn’t, but ANet really always emphasized this more ‘flat experience'; go explore more, start crafting a lot, farm (more) dungeons, play wvw (once it works…) – or reroll. they never actually said that at lvl80 there would be more to do than before that. they make everything accessible right away and that has its pros and cons especially if you’re not the target audience for this kind of gameplay or stuff like exploration, collection, achievements, crafting…etc.

        For now, I will give them the benefit of the doubt though in trusting they’re wise enough to deliver content patches and expansions at good speed. I think the average GW2 player is still busy right now and will be for a while to come….but should they fail to meet the speed at which the greater player base starts getting bored because they exhausted most of the content, thats when it gets more critical.
        even if critical really is hard to measure in a subless MMO that is fine with people leaving and returning ;) which makes this such an interesting case: they dont ‘need’ to retain players the way WoW does – and hence they omitted many of the classic hooks, too (which frankly I dislike by now). if you ask me, GW2’s future is one we can all watch with great interest, if only to see how they do 1 year from now.

        • SynCaine says:

          “Thats the “endgame problem” many were weary of. but then, endgame too the way people expect it is a concept WoW put a major stamp on”

          Ok, do ‘end-game’ like EVE or UO do/did it.

          “We do things differently” is not a valid excuse for not have ANY end-game or progression after 80. Or maybe it is, but again only if the intent is for GW2 to be played like Skyrim. If that’s the case, Anet should have never called it an MMO and this would all be a non-issue. We would not be talking about GW2’s failings as an MMO, but instead comparing it’s stories and content to Skyrim or titles like it.

        • Syl says:

          Well, since you mention it – GW2 does give me the Skyrim vibe quite often. :)
          I like that personally, that there’s a more open world feeling to things and I wish ANet had been more consequent about it myself (means leave levels altogether). I’m not sure that wouldn’t make it no MMO though? as you say yourself, oldschool MMOs also had different types of endgame. or consider a sandbox MMO (not saying GW2 is one but it is somewhere between sandbox and themepark): would you call it no MMO because it has no endgame? it’s an interesting question…

          what I agree with is that in the longer term ANet must deliver more content and there’s certainly stuff to fix asap about the appeal of WvWs for PvPers. Tremayne recently wrote that one big flaw of WvW is the random server matchings and I fully agree. there must be proper feud and server pride and meaningful rewards for PvP to be enjoyable for organized groups. since ANet made WvW one of their selling points, they need to step up here.

      • Mekhios says:

        I hit 80 quite a while ago in GW2. I didn’t even notice though. I continue to enjoy the game and have barely touched the surface of what it offers. Lot’s of crafting, multiple alts (I have 8 different characters for each profession), lot’s do in PvP, long term goals of the legendary’s, and I love battling it out in Orr where the front lines are never static. I find it even more social now that people have hit their comfort zone and communicate frequently with other players via chat. Most of the ADHD players have left now so the game is heading back to the rich community spirit that we enjoyed in GW1. Lot’s of community driven events occurring in the cities now on my server. Before we know it ArenaNet will release more content. The game is what you make of it.

        • Syl says:

          The only real issue i always saw in 1-80 is that ANet even introduced levels. it gives a distinct idea and GW2 would’ve been perfect for dismissing levels and go for a different, maybe skill-based progression. they even realized in their questing concept that ‘durations’ work better than quantities (quest trackers are bars, rather than number counts) for their very subtle, psychological effect.

          so yeah…no levels would’ve made more sense and conveyed the message better. also follow the scaling mechanics more consequently; do not just downscale , but upscale and make the world truly flat, only varying the difficulty overall for more rare and special mobs/encounters.

  14. Dorath says:

    Before GW2 launched I decided that I’d approach it the same way I approached the original. Hang back and pick it up later.

    And after picking it up later, I called it off and waited even longer. Two ‘expansions’ longer.

    The original (Prophecies?) was OK but with the advent of Nightfall it became enjoyable, and GWEotN was a blast! For me of course, YMMV.

    I still fire up GW from time to time to dink around. I think their pay-once-play-forever* model is great. GW is essentially what Diablo 3 is now (internet required solo play, or groups, whatever).

    I’ve gotten my $60 worth of D3, and I’ve gotten my whatever-I-paid for GW too. I absolutely expect that I’ll be able to pick up GW2 in a year or so, that it’ll be in significantly better shape than it is now, and that I’ll get my $60 from GW2. It just won’t be the “new hotness.”

    I guess I’m a bit of a rarity, because I no longer care about what’s new and shiny.

    * for reasonable definitions of forever

  15. [...] lot of the reviews I have been reading (save one) do not do much in the way of differenciating between the game and the MMO aspect. From a game [...]

  16. [...] GW2: One step forward, two steps back for the genre (syncaine.com) [...]

  17. Casualite says:

    Well… Actually, I’ve been reading through comments, and I suddenly found something I realized the article did not touch upon at all that really makes GW2 shine.

    The community isn’t absolute shit; you have quality people to discuss things with, most of the time. Your mileage may vary.

    Depending on what server you really end up in, the people are worth socializing with and grinding together is bearable.

    While “facerolling” (which I disagree with; I call it slotwheeling) isn’t very social, there is a genuine acknowledgement that the people participating in ‘dynamic events’ and ‘AOE fests’ are actually people.

    …Unless they’re bots, then they’re just a large minority and might as well be one anthropomorphous entity.

    Yes, it’s casual, but I’ve always seen a trend in blogs/discussions like this, where everything is objective for the sake of being objective and it kind of unfairly tarnishes whatever the subject of discussion is. My two cents.

    And yes, I do believe GW2 will get better with expansions. Hence why they’re expansions.

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