GW2’s perfect storm

Ah back to blogging. Odd how even a few days away gets me twitching.

I have an EVE update post coming, but wanted to get these GW2-based thoughts out first.

Queues in GW2 WvW: Honestly it’s the second best solution, and the best (be CCP) is technically impossible for the rest of the industry. If one assumes GW2 will actually perform like an MMO, and not die after the first 1-3 months, populations should stabilize and people can move around until the odds of hitting a queue are low, or the queue itself is short. I would much rather sit in a 5 minute queue during prime time to get into WvW than get in instantly to some pre-packaged 10v10 or 40v40 instance of non-factorism. That said queue rage will be epic the first week of release, and the tears will be delicious.

As for the rest of the info/videos released from the press beta weekend, none of it really changes my mind about GW2. I’m still looking forward to it, and I still expect it to be decent. I think GW2 will be a fun 3-6 months, and then something to wander back to during slow gaming times, but I just don’t see it raising the MMO bar going forward or becoming a stand-out, must-play MMO long-term (unless the WvW ranking/competition aspect takes off, then the game might be somewhat of a massive-scale arena PvP hybrid game, which would be interesting).

With that said, I do think ArenaNet is going to benefit from a bit of a perfect storm situation. The last year+ in the MMO genre has been one failed release after another, and the latest and biggest, SW:TOR, is even more disappointing than even I had expected. Along with new failures, WoW itself has not stagnated, but gotten noticeably worse (linear idiot-proof questing + ‘hard’ raiding; good job interns). On top of all that, shockingly, the themepark model does not have the legs more traditional MMOs have, and so whether you are playing a failure themepark or not, the whole formula has grown stale for many/most.

So here comes GW2, the first AAA MMO in a while that is not a direct copy/paste job of WoW. For many ‘casual’ players, it will be the first MMO in a long time/ever that is not a hotbar smashfest, that has PvP as a feature rather than an afterthought, and that is more massive than a four-person insta-queue silent loot collecting trip (sorry, silent but fully voiced loot collecting trip). That alone will make GW2 special to MMO players that just don’t know a whole lot about the genre (but oh god prepare for the forum idiocy as WoWbies ask for a DF and welfare epics), much like WoW was special for so many because even the most basic stuff, like seeing another player in a city, was something new for them.

The bitter-vet in me knows GW2 ‘active’ combat is semi-active compared to Darkfall, or that their ‘massive’ maps are blips in EVE’s scope, but I fully understand that bitter-vet status is rare in the grand scheme of things, and that it’s not the AAA space that is really going to push the genre forward in significant ways. Hell, I’m just happy GW2 is not a copy/paste WoW. That alone is (sadly) worth celebrating in the AAA MMO space.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in beta, Darkfall Online, EVE Online, Guild Wars, Mass Media, MMO design, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to GW2’s perfect storm

  1. Morg says:

    EvE breads bitter vets as nothign else compairs.

    That said GW2 is a signifigant step away and up from wow for the MMO genre. The farther from WoW we get the better. Also not sure bitter vet is the correct term for failing to be entertained by the same thing w/ a new skin. Any breakiong or at least bending of the WoW mold is a decent step for entertainment value.

  2. Joes says:

    Does anybody have some insight into the financial model GW2 is operating on? It definitely is a AAA MMORPG, with years of development and some serious server architecture. How is it that they feel they can be profitable from box sales only, while everybody else need months and months of high subscription numbers? I realise their development costs are not a fraction of say SWTOR, but if the game is any good wouldn’t they make lots more money from a subscription, even if it’s a small one? Will they really sell that many more boxes if they don’t have a subscription? At the risk of repeating myself, I just don’t get why a game such as GW2 wouldn’t charge a monthly fee.

    • SynCaine says:

      GW2 will also have an item shop. Currently the plan is to only sell fluff or account-extras (character slots). Hopefully they stick to that and don’t start selling power like EQ2/LotRO, or go full-asian with lottery boxes.

      • Kobeathris says:

        Well, the current Guild Wars Item shop doesn’t sell power, so I don’t see why they would change if it works for them. Additionally, not having a monthly fee to scare some of their sales off lets them move an awful lot of boxes. The most recent numbers I can find are from September of 2010, and they were at 6.5 million boxes (I believe that does include expansions).

        • bhagpuss says:

          Not going to have the “EQ2 doesn’t sell power” argument again, especially given the current PSS1 fiasco. ArenaNet certainly have no history of doing so, though.

          I’m no GW2 fanboy. I am not sold on the combat. Dodging and rolling doesn’t appeal. Nevertheless I am very keen to play and I’m pretty sure that whatever its flaws it will be better than anything else that releases this year. I got six full months out of Rift, I’m still subbed and I still have a great time when i remember to log in. I expect to get at least as much from GW2, with the added advantage of never having to sub.

          I bought Guild Wars at release and i still play on and off. I can’t see their business model as anything other than pure win for the player. Now just start the beta and send me my invite!

    • Doone says:

      The original Guild Wars had the exact same model and has been a huge success. I’m pretty sure they can continue to make the franchise profitable, since they’re well vetted at it by now.

  3. Quelldrogo says:

    Sounds like the WvW will be like improved battlegrounds instancing. What about more open world PvP, with factions being able to gain control over a zone and populate it with their own NPCs?

    I’m reading some of the reddit thread, but I don’t see anything related to this so far… gotta get back to work hell. lol

    Thanks, \m/

    • SynCaine says:

      Well when your server/guild controls a keep, the keep will have your sides NPC guards. But yea, still no really open world or long-term impact stuff, but like I said overall in the post, better two-week impact than 15 minute 10v10 instances non-impact. Baby steps.

    • coppertopper says:

      I was a little torn over what to think of the WvW area being essentially a two week long battleground. But then I remembered back to playing DAoC at its height and the weeks long complete domination of one side vs the other two, and it wasnt fun! So the switching of opponents and map re-setting is a huge boon to the gameplay IMO. Not that that is the only plus to GW2’s design decisions. Lack of factuons in fact works so well for the game that I see it being emulated in most future fantasy MMOs.

  4. Azuriel says:

    For many ‘casual’ players, it will be the first MMO in a long time/ever that is not a hotbar smashfest, […]

    Err… have you seen the videos? It’s even more of a hotbar smashfest than normal hotkey MMOs. Nevermind how it’s solo-friendly/focused up to the cap, grouping purely optional, a console version is being developed, and so on.

    The exciting bits for me are the extreme version of on-the-fly hybridization, fully scaled content/sidekick system (up and down), and a fairly radical PvP philosophy where level 1 characters have the same gear, HP, and skills as people at the level cap. If nothing else, I’m curious how that sort of system is going to work when there is no incentive to play PvP for upgrades. Will it work out like a Counter-Strike/TF2 deal where you play the same maps (etc) for years because it’s simply fun? Time will tell.

    • SynCaine says:

      It has hotbars, but I expect the actual combat to be more than just Googling the best rotation. I mean, DF has hotbars too, right? But until release, can’t say for sure on that one.

      Lvl 1 characters won’t be as powerful as true 80s. I actually made a post about that; lvl 1s will be as helpful as lvl 50s were in the original AV (read: worthless). Again, until release, who really knows.

      • Azuriel says:

        The difference being, unless you have information I don’t (it’s possible), they specifically said in the official FAQ:

        We’re applying this same philosophy to competitive play. Players will be able to engage in organized, balanced PvP (similar to GvG in the original Guild Wars) without first leveling up characters, finding equipment, and unlocking skills. While inside the organized PvP area, all characters will be the same power level and will have access to the same equipment.

        This isn’t bolstering, like in SWTOR/Warhammer/etc where you have your 2-3 level 1 abilities and everyone else is running around with a full hotbar. Everything I have seen suggests that everyone’s toon will never improve gear/ability-wise, at all. People will basically be doing PvP with premades all the time.

        Of course, it kinda defeats the purpose of levels at all, and puts huge pressure on the PvP actually being fun, since there is no other “point” (gear upgrades to compete in Arena or whatever). If they can actually pull that off, ArenaNet will be well into Jesus MMO territory.

        • Randomessa says:

          The part you’re referring to is for the Structured PvP, 5v5 up to 10v10. For WvWvW they are attempting to re-create a more open-world setting, and there characters are only bolstered to 80 with their traits and skill levels at “real world” levels. You can see in some of the WvW videos that players haven’t yet finished unlocking all their skills.

        • Roq says:

          Competitive PvP in Guild Wars 1 is the same – there are no gear rewards (TBH gear is much less important in PvE too). And It has been very popular, particularly Guild versus Guild (GvG), although the interest is starting to tail off now. The top GvG teams are very skillfull (you can watch in spectator mode) so that it’s a bit like an e sport. I think they intend to further take competitive PvP in that direction in GW2.

      • Roq says:

        Level 1 players won’t be able to compete with higher level players, one to one, but they will be able to do secondary objectives, such as disrupting supply, operating siege engines, recruiting NPC allies etc; and you can level up from 1-80 solely in WvW if you wish.

  5. coppertopper says:

    So much good info from the reddit GW2 AMA but this should satisfy the epeen strokers when it comes to WvW:
    “I wasn’t referring to the world’s score, but to the individual player’s score in a leaderboard that would show what their contributions have been (healing done, damage done, buildings razed, etc.)
    [–]ArenaNetTeamGuild Wars 2[S] 64 points 1 day ago
    Ahh ok that makes more sense. We already track a large range of values for things just like that, so we just have to get a system in place to track and display them for users. :)

  6. bonedead says:


  7. Anonymous says:

    this game is dead, i love the pre-beta hype in this place haha.

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