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.