Guild Wars 2 just cured cancer, world peace is next

Dear world,

Guild Wars 2 won’t solve your every issue with MMOs. It just won’t. It will, at the end of the day, be a PvE-based MMO with some PvP end-game, that’s overall pretty damn similar to what you see today in the themepark realm, with (perhaps) more short-term dynamic content instead of just normal quests or single-player phasing. You will be mashing 1-2-2-3, mobs will die, you will hit the cap and raid/PvP/alt/ragequit.

Hype is bad enough on its own, but the amount of wishful thinking swirling around GW2 is crazy. Hope for a better version of WoW and enjoy it when/if it arrives. If you currently hate all things themepark MMO, prepare to give AreneNet $50 for a one month trial.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Guild Wars, Mass Media, MMO design, Rant. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Guild Wars 2 just cured cancer, world peace is next

  1. pitrelli says:

    umm so you are saying its gonna be mmo 3.0 then ? Also that $50 will be a lifetime sub not a month playtime since there is no sub fees.

    As for pvp it actually sounds pretty good being able to get loot drops from players negating pve if you are so minded

    • SynCaine says:

      Hopefully it will be MMO 3.0, yea. More quality themeparks can’t hurt (much), right?

      As for PvP and loot, how’s that working out for every MMO before that has made that claim? Come on now, you know better.

  2. Ravious says:

    I agree, but I think it will escape the current gravitational pull the current, long-standing MMO culture is applying to new MMOs. This is what’s important, IMHO.

    • SynCaine says:

      In what way? Do you really believe you will be doing something substantially different from:

      Activity to get XP/loot (not a quest but a quest, lets be honest. Soon as you out-level the current ‘dynamic’ area, you move on without another care)

      Continue until the cap.

      Do at-cap activities that don’t play much like pre-cap stuff (PvP zone or raiding).

      Content will be added not as new quests, but as new dynamic areas, which amounts to basically instead of something in a quest tracker, it’s something in a quest tracker that only pops up when you get close. I mean if that does it for you, awesome, but is it really that different?

      Or I’ll put it this way; GW2 is going to play closer to WoW or DF? And since we know the answer to that question, the follow-up is; if you draw a line, with WoW on one end and DF on the other, how close is GW2 to WoW on that line?

      • Gankalicious says:

        Testify, my brother!

        I cut my MMO teeth on Guild Wars, and really enjoyed the pvp. I have a feeling though it will likely be same s**t, different pile but I have been avoiding reading anything about it. If I can instantly roll maxed pvp toons and go to it, great, if not I’ll give this one a miss for all the same reasons I did with Rift, Wow, etc.

      • Ravious says:

        Okay, first off DF has clearly escaped the pull too, but no one cares. It’s a super niche game barely above A Tale in the Desert in terms of effect on MMO culture, and ATITD has a bounty of genius MMO elements. So this line, you speak of, is pretty much irrelevant. I could say DF is like WoW because things respawn in a stupid way in terms of “how they play.”

        Otherwise there are plenty of differences. I wrote a whole post on them, but to succinctly answer your first question: GW2 will consistently give players a personal journey rarely found in a themepark MMO, but it isn’t a sandbox MMO. And, I think GW2, unlike DF and many other novel MMOs, will actually turn heads for future “AAA” MMOs. In fact, I would bet Blizzard’s next MMO is more similar to GW2 than WoW.

        • SynCaine says:

          But see, escaping the pull and super niche go hand-and-hand, and GW2 is not aiming for super niche.

          Personal story is a marketing term for a longer, more developed class-based quest chain. Likely to be entertaining, sure, but about is mind-blowing as WAR’s boars-boars-boars promise.

          My point is not that GW2 will be a bad game, it’s likely to be pretty fun for what it will be, but what it will be is WoW with a few twists, just like Rift is. It won’t be this overall massive shift in MMO design that ‘fixes’ many of the current things MMOs do.

          If you don’t like progression via XP/loot, a different end-game, and a solo-friendly point A to point B to point C world, GW2 is not going to do it for you either.

          I’d love to be wrong, but nothing I’ve seen or played has shown me otherwise. Rift was pitched by PR as a massive shift too, remember?

        • Ravious says:

          Yeah, and one thing I learned more than anything when playing it at PAX… is until I get a long weekend to play, I won’t know.

          Yet, with Rift it was apparent within an hour that it was moreWoW. With GW2, it did feel different from the get go.

        • SynCaine says:

          We agree to disagree then; when I played GW2 at PAX it felt like a WoW/DDO mix. Still hitting 1-2-2-3 to kill mobs to progress a zone, still looking to level up/gear up to progress to the next zone.

          We’ll see at beta/release what everyone else thinks I guess.

        • Randomessa says:

          “progression via xp/loot”
          Not that it’s been claimed otherwise? What about that storyline that levels you to max? Or the non-exponential leveling curve?

          “a different end-game”
          According to whom? When there’re no instanced “raids” over 5-man? And no tiered gear sets you need to acquire in order to take part? And a guarantee to get one loot piece per run? I mean, I know Rift made a lot of claims, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t head in that direction, and with reason, given their target audience.

          “solo-friendly” world
          Oh, exactly as ArenaNet has claimed, then. :)

        • Ravious says:

          What I saw was that standing around and going 1,1,2,3,1,1,2 worked, but that if a player worked at positioning and tactically placing skills, they became much better.

          I’ve seen vids were “noobs” would aggro 3 mobs and get facerolled, and I’ve seen vids where very skilled players take on multiple mobs with ease.

          Now, this isn’t hugely different from people that “know the skill rotation” and those that don’t in WoW/Rift/etc., but it was different. You didn’t become more efficient by pressing skill buttons.

        • SynCaine says:

          @Rav: Yup, same thing exists right now in DF; play better and you can kill better. It’s a solid system.

          But GW2 combat is not DF combat in terms of skill, not by a long shot, and even in DF a lot of the PvE is stand and trade because, well, it’s just easier that way.

          I’ve made the comparison before, but in DDO if you played really, really well, you did a little bit better. The end result? Most people never cared and just traded blows like they do in a standard MMO. Not saying that is exactly what GW2 combat felt like, it WAS a little more active, but when you are killing the 20th centaur, I doubt you are still going to be min/maxing the combat, especially when you know you can stand and trade and still win.

          In PvP, yea, it’s going to matter a lot more. Hopefully the system is solid enough that the kind of ‘creative use’ we see in DF is not possible in GW2, but the more options you give, the more likely that becomes, so again, how far into the niche rabbit hole is GW2 going to go?

  3. pitrelli says:

    Yeah perhaps I should but I never seem to learn. *sigh*

    I guess we will have to wait and see but I really do hope it brings enough new shiny stuff to the table, combat and peoples description of it remains a big worry for me.

  4. Dink says:

    Sounds good. I’ll take a slice of that pie. Thank you very much.

    While Rift was the best expansion WoW ever had, I can’t wait to move on.

  5. Randomessa says:

    The main issue I see here is that if you don’t play MMOs to get a single-player experience in a multiplayer setting (as I do), and in fact consider this type of gameplay to be antitheitical to “wot makes an MMO” then you won’t be looking at what GW2 provides that you can’t get elsewhere *in a multiplayer venue, note some of us don’t like single player games*, thus “oh its still quests and swords and elves and 1,1,1,2,2,3 ad nauseum.

    Which, fine, you never wanted that in your MMOs, anyway. But I did. The second coming and cures for cancer never entered into it (though they make for nice pedestals from which to knock a game.

    • SynCaine says:

      Oh yes yes, I fully agree.

      The post was in response to people thinking GW2 is going to ‘solve’ core issues like how raiding works, ‘the grind’, the holy trinity, meaningful travel, PvP balance, etc. Like somehow ArenaNet has the cure to everyone’s issues with an MMO (whether or not what they are hoping for is even an issue to fix in the first place).

      • Randomessa says:

        Why wouldn’t it, though, when GW1 managed it? They’re hyping up a lot of things, yes, but mainly for an audience that isn’t familiar with how there already isn’t a typical raiding endgame in GW1, or typical loot grinds, or the typical trinity. None of that is new – only the audience being preached to.

        I don’t recall any claims about “meaningful” travel, but ANet’s stance on fast travel only serves to illustrate that GW2 won’t serve as a WoW clone for those seeking one.

        Either GW2 changes nothing of consequence -in which case why argue against the changes?-, or changes too much and it won’t work -in which case people will have got what they asked for, only to learn they didn’t want it- , or changes enough to work.

        Which do you really think it is, because I don’t feel the criticisms come down one way or another?

        • SynCaine says:

          GW1 managed it because, well, GW1 is not an MMO (the devs said so!). GW2 is (again, the devs said so!).

          Again, we can wait for beta and see, but I just think a ton of people are in for a sad awakening when a month in, they are logging in to do more or less the same thing in GW2 as they are doing today in WoW/Rift/XYZthemepark.

        • Randomessa says:

          What, raid, when there’s no raids? I’m sorry, but you’ll have to be more specific, because it’s almost as though you’re intimating that somehow GW2 has some raiding, gear-gated content they’re keeping from us, which would be a change indeed, from other MMOs launching without raids intact.

          I’m honestly at a loss for what you could mean otherwise. Is your definition of a themepark MMO dependent on this kind if content, and thus you figure that if GW2 is an MMO it must have it? If it doesn’t, will you deem it not an MMO like the first?

  6. Carson says:

    Man, every time you post something like this I become more and more convinced that your posts praising Rift are an elaborate exercise in trolling.

    • SynCaine says:


      One of the first things I said about Rift was that it was WoW 2004. I knew what I was getting into, and so far it’s lived up to those expectations, hence I’m happily playing.

      How is that in any way related to what this post is about?

      • Loire says:

        Mostly because we see RIFT as a themepark like any other and can’t believe the blogger we normally come to for news and stories of the hardcore, niche and sandbox variety has gone all fluffy on us.

        BUT THEN he goes on to mock other themeparks which will probably be no more or less innovative than his preferred themepark.

        • SynCaine says:

          I can understand that. I’m sorry I’m not doing Darkfall write-ups atm. Those will return, no worries, but this blog has never exclusively been about one single game, or one single play-style.

          As for mocking other games, bad games are bad games, good ones are good. I mock bad sandboxes (MO) just as often as I mock bad themeparks (WoW).

        • Loire says:

          MO was ever released? Hoo boy.

      • Carson says:

        Well, basically everything negative you say here about GW2, and most of the negatives you have always said about WoW, are also 100% applicable to Rift. I mean, the “It will, at the end of the day..” sentence in this post, you could drop that into a post about Rift and you wouldn’t have to change a single word except maybe changing “It will be..” to “It is..”

        Yet you are displaying such uncharacteristic enthusiasm for Rift that I keep thinking there’s a “gotcha!” coming, once you’ve reeled in enough Rift fans.

        • SynCaine says:

          You are confusing my saying that GW2 won’t be a revolution with GW2 not being a good, fun MMO. This post is about the first, not the second.

          The WoW/Rift piece is addressed in the post about this one, among other posts. Devil in the details and all that, and while a Darkfall fan might look at Rift and see WoW (totally understandable), someone who can enjoy a certain themepark (2004 WoW) can tell the different between current-day WoW and a game like Rift (and hopefully GW2).

          Make sense?

  7. D says:

    If GW2 had a carbon copy of minecraft combat I’d be satisfied as long as they deliver on the SvSvS. I’ll still probably buy it because there is no subscription.

  8. Bhagpuss says:

    There are two things I’m looking forward to about GW2.

    1. The pay-once-play-forever payment model.

    2. Flat levelling.

    No-one ever seems to mention this feature any more, but it’s something I’ve wished for in MMOs for well over five years. Whether it’ll work in practice we’ll have to wait and see, but I’m so pleased someone’s at least trying it.

  9. SM says:

    No more trinity in combat; no more kill 10 foozles quests. That sounds simple but it is a huge innovation. PVE will no longer be scripted. Consider this to be PVE 2.0.

    • SynCaine says:

      I was killing 10 Centaurs at PAX…

      • Grimm6th says:

        So…Why did you kill those 10 Centaurs?

        I bet it was because they were attacking you, or because they were doing something and you felt like going over to them and smashing their faces.

        You didn’t have any reason to wander into harms way to kill them other than that it was probably what you wanted to do. Better still, you likely had a goal that was NOT simply kill 10 Centaurs.

        The WHOLE PROBLEM with “kill 10 rats” is the why am I doing this factor. If at some point you decided you didn’t like killing Centaurs, you could move on to do something else, but if the Centaurs are doing something that prevents you from getting something you want…like visiting a certain merchant…odds are you will start killing them without needing the guiding force of the text “kill 10 Centaurs”.

  10. Wyrd One says:

    I think if you try hard enough you can reduce any game down to some lowest common denominator and then berate it for being so simple.

    I think GW2 will not be WoW/Rift 2 because of the way the Dynamic Events work. Yes, on some level you’re simply killing monsters, but, as posted above, the “why” is important.

    In WoW/Rift you hit level 12, you go to quest hub X and they tell you (in a wall of text) that the bandits nearby are attacking the villagers and would you please go kill 10 of them. You look around and see an area where a bunch of bandits are just milling back and forth. You kill 10, the farmer thanks you, and you move to the next quest hub.

    In GW2 you will approach a farm house and a farmer will run over to you and call for help (in a text bubble above their head) and you will see a bunch of bandits attacking his farm house. You move in and start defending the farm house and once you’ve killed 10 bandits the event branches off and maybe the bandits start retreating towards their camp. You choose to persue and now you’re on the offensive, attacking the camp and preventing the farm house from being attacked again.

    Ok, in the end, in both cases you killed 10 bandits, but in GW2 it was far more compelling and once you were done killing them they actually retreated to their camp, which you could persue and attack, whereas in WoW/Rift you finish up, the bandits respawn in their little area and continue to pace back and forth. Your killing of bandits had no effect on the world at all. 5 minutes later everything looks/feels exactly as it did when you first arrived.

    Alternately, if you fail to defend the farm house the badits will win and take over the farm house. Things will stay that way until players literally take back the farm house. It isn’t going to reset back to the starting point, it isn’t like the Rifts which will simply despawn themselves if no one bothers to close them. The events in GW2 persist and it’s up to the players to change things in the world.

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