GW2: Broken Jack of Trades

GW2 has a serious identity crisis. Is it an ultra-casual MMO that rewards everyone for everything? Is it an e-sport title for competitive 5v5 teams? Is it an updated DAoC focused on RvR? Is it a WoW clone, or the next big MMO evolution?

Sadly, it’s all of the above, sorta. Or at least, it’s a game with all of the above components, but currently strongly lacks a way to make them all play nice with each other.

Azuriel covers the broken economy well. I’d only ask who thought GW2 was going to have an economy worth a damn in the first place? What I mean is that MMOs with real economies, like EVE, have them because the economy is a major source of content. There are people who play EVE doing nothing BUT economy-based activities, and they have been doing them for years. If Anet ‘fixes’ the economy in GW2, what exactly is the end goal here? Is anyone going to be playing the GW2 economy full-time if they do?

I quickly noted the problem with GW2’s “it’s not endgame but play it like end-game” dungeons earlier today. If GW2 really is the ultra-casual MMO that some claim it to be now, why is the game’s director telling me to start min-maxing and everything will be fine?

And if the goal really is to min-max at 80, can I at least have the tools to do it? My WvW build is trash for solo PvE, and Colin tells me I need a different build if I want to run dungeons. And as fun as respec costs are, didn’t themeparks solve this problem a few years ago? Of course, even if I could dual-spec, I’d still be lugging around gear-sets, which in GW2 is a major problem given bag space. Oh I could fix that by spending some money in the cash shop? How ‘convenient’. F2P model driving game design down the tubes, news at 11!

The lack of spec-switching is highlighted by how effective min-maxing can be in a setting like dungeons or WvW. Simply put, someone in a WvW spec with the right gear will run circles (literally and figuratively) against someone with a PvE spec and PvE gear. Again, this itself is not a problem, just like a mining barge sucking at PvP is not a problem in EVE. The problem with GW2 is I can’t just dock up the barge and jump into a PvP ship like I can in EVE, at least not by design.

The WvW maps, those ‘giant’ zones Anet proudly showed off pre-release, are too small. The zerg is able to move between points quickly enough to suppress guerilla warfare on all but the lowest value points, and aside from picking off stragglers and ninja-grabbing a supply camp for a few minutes, small groups are left with few options. This is further impacted by specs/gear, resulting in joining the zerg being the best choice more often than not.

And thanks to the persistent queues, switching between maps is not really feasible, meaning you can’t do much but watch as you win your zone but lose the ‘war’. The central map and the three clone maps might as well be different realms for all they matter on any given night, which is frustrating and very un-DAoC.

Once everyone hits 80 and gears up, many of the above issues will disappear. Who cares about the economy when you don’t need to buy anything? Once you have the tokens you need from dungeons, the min-max there is gone. And when you reach the point of being ‘done’ with your character for WvW, only having access to a WvW spec and gear will be ok. Still, it’s all currently a nightmare in terms of design, and will be for anyone joining late or leveling an alt.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, crafting, Guild Wars, MMO design, PvP, Rant, RMT. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to GW2: Broken Jack of Trades

  1. ausj3w3l says:

    The design approach does seem very mismatched, you have the incredible casual pve mixed up with other wide ranging styles… Maybe that’s a good thing in a sense of everyone having a game type suited to them but it is still rather jarring.

    The economy will never balance out, and as more get the top tier gear, even less so. I argued for some sort of durability system at the start of the year but it promptly got flamed by the guru inhabitants saying going back to eve.

    The whole game does reek of a microtransaction system and it isnt just the bag and bank space. The transmutation system is also a headache, I would rather buy a wardrobe slot then a stone for each piece each time I want to change my look. Smart play with having the under 80 ones fall from the sky while leveling.

  2. coppertopper says:

    Wow – did you really just complain about getting beaten in PvP because you chose to enter the PvP area in PvE gear and traits? Even conparing it to entering a fleet battle in Eve in a mining barge – which is in both cases totally preventable with 30secs of prep time and negligable cost?

  3. Anonymous says:

    This embodies a certain generation MMO players who do badly and blame everything on gear and builds. Too bad. This is a game based on skill and tactics, not on how good your gear/spec is.

    • SynCaine says:

      I think this will depend on which servers you get paired against. If they are less coordinated, that can work. Against servers with realm-wide Vent/TS, it won’t, at least not for major objectives and with a smaller (5ish) group.

      • João Carlos says:

        But Syncaine, now the WvW is weekly, they started to pair servers based at their rank at WvW.

        So, we can assume that the higher ranked servers have more guilds well coordinated and that servers will be paired.

        • SynCaine says:

          Correct. My point was I believe Keen is on a lower ranked, less organized server pairing compared to JQ.

          The problem is map size. If they were bigger, even vs organized forces the ‘roaming 8’ of DAoC would still work. But because the maps are so small, it’s only mildly effective.

        • João Carlos says:

          The server ranks are:
          North American World Rankings
          2188.612 Henge of Denravi
          2002.226 Jade Quarry
          1964.446 Stormbluff Isle
          1875.004 Eredon Terrace
          1699.045 Sea of Sorrows
          1695.069 Blackgate
          1679.689 Gate of Madness
          1670.891 Isle of Janthir
          1636.534 Dragonbrand
          1584.418 Crystal Desert
          1579.227 Maguuma
          1563.392 Fort Aspenwood
          1506.938 Tarnished Coast
          1481.493 Sanctum of Rall
          1435.816 Yak’s Bend
          1420.95 Sorrow’s Furnace
          1419.258 Anvil Rock
          1405.639 Ehmry Bay
          1332.269 Darkhaven
          1120.529 Northern Shiverpeaks
          1115.636 Ferguson’s Crossing
          1040.031 Borlis Pass
          861.837 Devona’s Rest
          669.879 Kaineng

          European World Rankings
          2105.216 Vizunah Square
          1832.8 Far Shiverpeaks
          1831.66 Desolation
          1812.345 Riverside
          1721.516 Augury Rock
          1700.819 Kodash
          1664.686 Gunnar’s Hold
          1617.15 Aurora Glade
          1611.369 Baruch Bay
          1609.415 Fort Ranik
          1609.201 Blacktide
          1605.825 Gandara
          1602.253 Seafarer’s Rest
          1562.421 Arborstone
          1561.985 Elona Reach
          1516.21 Abaddon’s Mouth
          1488.269 Underworld
          1475.444 Jade Sea FR
          1406.02 Ring of Fire
          1272.608 Piken Square
          1254.93 Whiteside Ridge
          1254.831 Vabbi
          1245.978 Drakkar Lake
          1143.284 Ruins of Surmia
          1021.606 Miller’s Sound
          1003.289 Dzagonur
          991.366 Fissure of Woe

          Well, JQ have the second best rank from US servers. You are pairing against HoD and SI, that problably have well organized guilds doing PvP.

          The thing that make me feel uneasy with your argument is that the WvW map is big, not small how you afirm. Maybe the teleporters make the map appear be small, but need some organization for a guild move from one place ot other and we all know that good generals know how to move an army and bad generals not so… well, maybe I am seeing too much History Channel and thinking how Patton made an entrie army change direction 45 degrees and move to fight the german army at the winter of 1944.

          I fear you are finding that PvP against guilds that know how to make PvP is not so easy how you think. That brings the wolves against sheep argument again: if there is no sheep, it is wolves against wolves and that is not so fun…

          Basically, for you WvW is not being fun because the other guilds are better than you and your guild…

          :P

        • SynCaine says:

          The issue is not facing quality opponents. It’s exactly what we wanted and the reason we rolled on JQ. The issue is our ‘roaming 8’ is not facing other 8s, but 30-40 man zergs. We move across the map (which takes what, 5 minutes at most?), and before we can do anything, the zerg has followed us if we are doing anything of real value. In DAoC that was not possible due to the size of the RvR areas and travel speed.

          Now we can of course join our zerg, and that itself can be fun for a bit, but the problem is the non-zerg options are very limited and not all that beneficial, which I mostly attribute to the size of the map and the ease of travel.

  4. João Carlos says:

    Syncaine, you want fight the goons with only 8 ships?

    The best strategy, and you know it, is to move to a less disputed system…

    • SynCaine says:

      Queues prevent moving between zones, and since all the maps are the same save for EB, it does not matter anyway. Again, it is what it is, but the size of the maps removes a gameplay aspect that a lot of people loved about DAoC: roaming 8s.

  5. Shadow says:

    These are exactly issues that WAR had/has with PvP. The zerg will dominate, always (at least, without a strong bombing tactic to counter). This is especially without truely huge open zones. Focused combat removes tactical gameplay.

    • kalex716 says:

      Planetside 2 is scratching my progression based, mass warfare itch right now. Here’s to hoping their cash shop doesn’t tank it…

      Nothing in the traditional MMO milieu seems poised to do it right these days.

      I feel the same way about the Zerg, its not terrible or anything, but it doesn’t allow for very interesting uniquely expressed experiences or moments of “that was awesome” small team action without extreme rarity.

      Even in WoW early before battlegrounds, you could go do Zerg, large scale stuff in Tauren Mill for small amounts of points off tag kills, pushing back and forth… But you could also go off and find cool ganks and skirmishes for quality fights all over the world as well and decent points per kill.

      Guildwars 2 is just Meh…

  6. Bosstiger says:

    Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.

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