GW2: Pre-80 vs post-80

How can you spot if someone has reached the level cap in GW2? Ask if they still like the game.

While for some time now themeparks have been two different games, the leveling aspect and the ‘end-game’, the change in GW2 is IMO by far the most drastic. And it’s drastic not because you go from solo-questing to forced-grouped raiding, but because the exact content you found compelling and rewarding at 79 instantly turns into flawed meh at 80. It’s shocking if you have not come to accept that progression = success for an MMO. And if you are among those who do not, feel free to look at successful MMOs of the past and draw a link as to why those games worked long-term. (Hint: progression that matters) Even easier, just look at recent failures and identify the trend.

And I think this is where I lose people when I say GW2 is a shitty MMO, because NOT fading after the (very short in GW2) leveling game is a critical metric. It’s one of the key things that make a game an MMO. Lots of games in lots of genres are solid to great short-term. On that criteria, GW2 is not the worst way to spend 40-60 hours. It’s not the best this year, or even really on the same level as something like Skyrim, but it’s not Superman64 by any means.

The issue I have is that not only did Anet call GW2 an MMO, but they (yes they, not fans) hyped the product not only as an MMO, but an MMO that ‘fixes’ so many wrongs of the genre. And yes, they succeeded in some regards (the overall “players are your friend, not the enemy” thing is well done), but the trouble is they failed in the most critical area. Being nice to others or having lots of options in terms of where to level or how to get gear or where to collect crafting mats is all pointless when, once you hit 80, it all does nothing for you.

MMO content, GW2 very much included, is not good enough on its own. Put the average GW2 quest next to an average Skyrim quest and Skyrim wins 10 times out of 10. The reason you would pick GW2 is because you can do that quest with others in a world where doing that quest ‘matters’ long-term. It’s why people mine in EVE when mining in EVE might be the worst gameplay in all of gaming. You progress, and that progression makes doing silly/bad/terrible things worthwhile. Molten Core was not awesome-enough content to justify running it 500 times. It could easily be argued that if you removed progression, few would ever run MC once, let alone return. But you ran it 500 times because you, along with 39 others, had a lot of fun hanging out and bashing your collective heads into the next raiding wall, and damn it, you needed that .01% crit chance upgrade from MC to do it.

If you hate the above that’s fine. If you expect or even want to go from one game to the next each month, that’s cool. But understand that’s not how the MMO genre as many know it works. Titles tagged as an MMO have diluted this, as have other unfortunate trends. But unless you accept a very different definition of what an MMO is and what makes an MMO work, GW2 does not measure up, no matter how good the first few hours are.

About SynCaine

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

51 Responses to GW2: Pre-80 vs post-80

  1. bhagpuss says:

    “that’s not how the MMO genre as many know it works”

    I’d say “that’s not how the MMO genre as many knew it *used to work*”. Question is, now it does work like that, how do you like it?

    If I had to choose between how it works now and how it worked when I started back in 1999 it would be a close call but if i *had* to chose I’d take how it works now. I was in my forties when I started and I’m in my mid-50s now. If I’d been in my teens when I started and my 30s now, that answer would probably be different.

    As for GW2, fact is it’s been many years since I even attempted to play appropriate max-level content as my main activity in any MMO. My normal pattern of play since 2004/2005 or so has been to level many, many alts and semi-retire all of them if they reach cap. It’s the leveling up I enjoy, not anything that happens when it’s done.

    In that respect, GW2 is a game made for me, and probably for the many people I’ve met over the last few years who play in a similar style. I completely agree that the “end-game” of GW2 is a very bad fit with the leveling game, but it’s pretty much the same end-game that GW1 has had for eight years so it didn’t surprise me in the least. I’d rather have had a different one, but no other MMO I’ve played for years has an end-game that suits me better and leveling one of each class to 80 is going to keep me amused for a few months.

  2. saucelah says:

    I agree with Bhagpuss, though likely for different reasons. The only games where I have enjoyed the end game have been games that really didn’t have an end game. In other words, those were just activities I had been doing all along — my post maxed character endgame in SWG was doing more of what I did to get there. Same with Eve.

    With WoW, I quit the instant I hit max level. I didn’t wish to level again — I found the leveling bland and not worth doing twice. I had an RL friend who was part of a guild in vanilla that had at least one game-first raid kill, never mind world firsts, so it’s not that I didn’t have the social structure available to continue. I just saw nothing interesting in repeating content for equipment.

    I also think you’re just plain wrong that people will understand you more once they have an 80, as I know, both in real life and in game, several people at 80 doing exactly what they expected to be doing and enjoying it.

    Are you saying you’d rather have a loot treadmill? Because I could have sworn you’ve said that loot treadmills are shitty MMOs too.

    Overall your “hostility” towards this game is kind of amusing, especially when put up next to your enthusiasm at release for Rift. Is this overcompensation for the MMO 3.0 post? Or have you gone hipster on us?

    • SynCaine says:

      Get back to me in a month or so when most hit 80. We’ll see if the data supports your theory or mine.

      And that Rift post is still accurate, but people can’t get over the title. The fact that Rift is still a sub-based game in a land of F2P failures alone speaks volume.

      • saucelah says:

        I don’t have a theory. I have friends at level 80 that still don’t hate the game, are doing what they expected to be doing, and apparently did not share your feeling that it went from fun to meh. I disagree only with your assertion that such is universal and almost everyone will agree once they hit 80, and since people in my personal circle and in other blogs have not hit 80 and instantly decided it was a shitty game, seems pretty obvious your theory is ALREADY shot.

        Also, reread your Rift post — the things that specifically led you to call it MMO 3.0 had little to do with the pace of content releases (which of course were just a promise at launch)—which is what has kept that game with a sub and healthy—and more to do with soul-swapping and rifts, both things that if they are the key to MMO 3.0 make GW2 MMO 3.14. Very much like reading a different person between your Rift reaction and GW2 reaction. This “no no, that’s not what I meant by MMO 3.0” is quite revisionist.

        But more importantly, you are actually advocating that GW2 would be better if it had a loot treadmill at the end. So now it seems you are saying that GW2 is a shitty MMO, and WoW is pretty damn awesome because you can repeat content five hundred times to get a 0.1% increase in crit. That seems inconsistent with everything you’ve written, as long as I’ve been reading at least.

        • SynCaine says:

          Your connecting dots that are not there, or at least missing a step or two.

          Simple progression explanation.
          Horizontal > Linear > None.

          Does WoW have a better progression model than GW2? Yup. Does that mean I like what WoW is overall? Nope.

        • saucelah says:

          I still do not see how WoW’s progression system is better. I know people at cap still working on Legendary weapons — which I admit I know nothing about — but that sounds like progression at cap to me. Why would it better for that to only come from repeating the same content when you’ve already said that repeating the same content was never fun?

          So what you are saying is you would rather repeat content 500 times and feel obligated to do so in order to prepare for the next expansion then to just walk away from the game when the game is done? Well, okay — I find it relieving.

          I’ll look for endless progression in my sandboxes, yes horizontal I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. But theme parks never had it anyway, they just tucked that progression into a Skinner box with a random payout to get pigeons to poke levers. It still ended. Only it didn’t end until you played it out so much that everything about the game started to be onerous. Makes sense to extend a game in the name of progression when you charge a sub, but it was never fun, and it was never a favor to the players. Why is it a shitty MMO for not trying to hide the fact it ends behind shitty repetition? That’s the sticking point for me, and it’s why I find your recent posts to be a bit of a front, a “too cool for Guild Wars 2” front.

          It comes across as either idiotic or insincere. Yes, I find that rather aggravating as I started reading this blog because it was smart and sincere. It’s like you’re begging for the devs to treat you like an idiot, and they’re responding “it does not benefit us in anyway to treat you like an idiot” and you find that shitty.

          So it’s the hipster thing then? Got it.

        • SynCaine says:

          Legendary weapons are raiding for gear without the stats or progression to the next raid.

          Also you keep making it sound like I said raiding is not fun, but I never said that. I had a hell of a lot of fun in vanilla for two years, as did the guild I was raiding with. I have fun in EVE doing the same sleeper sites 100s of times. I was done with GW2 dungeons after the first time, even though on a just-content basis they are better than either sleeper sites or raiding MC on farm.

          I’m not sure how else to explain why progression is important and justifies a lot of the actions MMO players make.

        • saucelah says:

          You said yourself that if it didn’t provide progression, no one would run the raid, possibly not even once. Implying, to me, that it is not fun. Maybe you did have fun raiding in vanilla, but if raiding repeatedly for only a random possibility of progression was actually fun for you, there are still games that do that, and suck the sub out of people while they are doing it. And at one month from release, I don’t remember Vanilla having tier upon tier of raid content.

          But I think I see where we are not understanding each other.

          What you are saying makes the game a shitty MMO is what I think makes the game a shitty virtual world, a shitty place for social connections. But those last two things aren’t part of the definition of MMO. They never actually were — they were part of the business plan. Some games designed themselves so that they didn’t really end (UO, SWG, Eve), and those games fit the business plan. Other games wanted the same business plan but didn’t design so that they didn’t end — so they hid that ending in Skinner boxes with diminishing rewards.

          Getting rid of the business plan gives the freedom to get rid of the Skinner box. That does’t make it a shitty MMO — that makes it an excellent theme park that doesn’t have its predecessors delusions of grandeur. That’s an excellent thing for two reasons: 1, idiot players will stop thinking that companies are entitled to a sub without providing anything in return. 2, idiot companies will stop thinking they can get that sub money just by putting in the skinner box, because players have a clear example of a game that doesn’t try to make a week of content last six months.

          That’s positive all around. Whether or not I’m playing after I hit 80 with all five of my characters is totally based on the pace of content from Anet. The things they have said make me think I’ll still be playing. But I’ve never expected any theme park to occupy me for than a few months at a time. Nor did I quit my other game to enter GW2.

          My expectations were set reasonably. Anet’s expectations, if based on GW, should be about the same — people will come and go, boxes will sell, population will return when content is added then dwindle down to the hardcores. If every theme park had those expectations, there would be a lot fewer failed games.

          There’s nothing shitty about a game functioning exactly as planned. What’s shitty to you is that it doesn’t fit your expectations, which were that it would occupy you for more than just a few months. But that’s what sandboxes are for — it was never true of theme parks to begin with.

        • SynCaine says:

          I guess the difference is I tie the social aspects into an MMO. I don’t say “hey this MMO has zero social stuff, but all good”. To me that’s not an MMO.

        • saucelah says:

          First off, I got pissed at something unrelated last night, let that crawl up my ass, and took it out on you. Sorry about that.

          Ultimately I want to agree, but the theme park genre never had much to draw people in and create social connections. Sure, old 40 man raiding — but not a whole hell of a lot of people were ever involved in that.

          No, I think this part of the genre moved on, the change in business plan reflects that, and the game is exactly the MMO that Anet wanted to make.

        • SynCaine says:

          Funny, I was having a bad day too.

          People sell WoW’s raiding model short. It had a much bigger influence on retention than what the number of ‘actual raiders’ shows. And vanilla WoW had a pretty solid social model, especially matched up against current-day games like GW2.

          Sure, the more casual you make your MMO, the less hooks and social ties it’s going to have. But at some point, you cross a line and the game in question is no longer an MMO by some definitions (read: mine). GW2 is much further across that line than even I imagined pre-release.

        • Mag says:

          To each his own I guess but most players who still defend or support GW2 just don’t have the experience and foresight to see where the game is headed. The entire reason the industry still cranks out games like these is because of this large population of players.

          If I buy a nice new shiny bouncy ball for a 5 year old he will have a blast with it, for a very long time. If I buy that same shiny bouncy ball for a 13 year old, he will have fun for a short time then move on to something a little more engaging. It’s understood you just know any better which is fine.

          Players stood up and defended, Rift, SWTOR, WAR, SW, etc… the list goes on and on, you’re all in the same demographic.

  3. Pitrelli says:

    You may need to learn to differentiate between your opinion and fact. They are two different things entirely. If you take your head out your ass for a second you might find you do not speak for every single MMO player.

    • Mekhios says:

      To be fair to Syncaine it is his blog and his personal opinion of the MMO genre and what he personally prefers to enjoy during his entertainment hours. He doesn’t “owe” anyone a fair and balanced viewpoint. If you aren’t happy with what he writes then stop reading the blog.

      I personally don’t agree with all of his opinions but I still respect what he has to say as he does put a bit of effort into his opinion pieces.

  4. Mekhios says:

    People (including Syncaine) need to get out of the rigid headspace of what an MMO means these days. There are so many different forms of Massively Multiplayer Online game.

    The market is changing and MMO’s are changing with it. People need to accept that the levelling treadmill is not where the future lies for the genre. TSW and GW2 represent a future direction of MMO’s.

    I also don’t agree with the comment a typical Skyrim quest is better than a typical GW2 quest. They both feature fantasy storylines with a conflict, a reason for the quest, and then an end event to cap off the quest. People need to pay attention to the storylines and lore of Tyria to fully appreciate the rich stories contained within the game.

    Syncaine said:
    “Being nice to others or having lots of options in terms of where to level or how to get gear or where to collect crafting mats is all pointless when, once you hit 80, it all does nothing for you.”

    I quote this as I believe this is the crux of why you hate where the genre is heading. Your personal preference is that you require a carrot (be that levelling, gated content, items) to continue playing a game. You can’t just play a game to exist in the world. I think fundamentally you just don’t like this sort of game. This is understandable as it is very different to Eve Online. I think you once said you preferred games that featured a PvP focus and conflict with other players.

    • SynCaine says:

      Except notice almost all player-told stories about GW2 revolve around some kind of progression. “I did a jumping puzzle and it was really fun, plus I got a loot chest!” “I completed an event and got karma!” “I completed a zone and got the chest!”

      Now sure, maybe all of those people would be just as happy with the content if the reward was removed, but I doubt it. We will see in a month or so.

      • Mekhios says:

        The achievement system is a big part of GW2. Why would you want it removed? A lot of people find it fun. GW2 does not force you on to any single path. You can do whatever you want. Some people like doing the same thing over and over again. Look at the WoW population or any of the other traditional MMO treadmills.

        Would you be happier with GW2 if it offered a persistent world where players captured land and mega-guilds ruled? Darkfall offered this (no one plays it). So does EvE (another super niche PvP title with relatively few people playing). There is no perfect game. At least we have choice.

        Wishing GW2 to be like the games you want to play won’t make it happen. Nor should it. The majority of the online gaming population wouldn’t like it.

        • SynCaine says:

          DF: Getting a sequel.

          EVE: Second biggest sub MMO out after 10 years.

          At least bring something reasonable to the table.

        • Mekhios says:

          “EVE: Second biggest sub MMO out after 10 years.
          At least bring something reasonable to the table.”

          I just logged in to Tranquility and there are 26,422 players. About 30,000 players an hour or so earlier. A sizeable portion of those are dual-boxing/multiple accounts.

          EvE is a successful title in its own right with a sustained niche playerbase. But it doesn’t represent the future direction of MMO’s however you want to spin it. ;)

        • Zyref says:

          The data found here poinst to Eve having ~350k subs.
          350k subs isn’t quite that many in Eve. Most players have two accounts, and many (including you) have three or more. I’d argue that the average player has three.

          Some of the larger traders have eight or ten or twelve.

          1/3 * 350k = ~120k actual players. This might even be a high estimate.

          That puts it at the level of players in Dungeons and Dragons online, or Tibia… games where each player has one account only.

        • SynCaine says:

          Subs are subs. Each one counts for ~$15, whether it’s one person with 350k account or 350k people each owning just one. Point is CCP has a game that has 350/400k subs, while all other studios not called Blizzard don’t despite trying.

          Also the fact that EVE is in the top 25 most days on Xfire would suggest the numbers are pretty decent too, since multiple accounts don’t make Xfire count you twice.

          Oh wait, Xfire doesn’t count because… nologic.

        • Zyref says:

          Eve encourages incredible amounts of time and dedication, which will inflate its xfire counts. Much of that time isn’t actually “playing” the game in xfire.
          That said, Guild wars 2 doesn’t encourage this kind of play… Neither does Warcraft, or SWTOR, or rift or…. … .. Some players play a huge amount, but that is a minority. In EVE, it is the baseline.

          You can have a game be equally successful to Eve, and only have a tenth of the playtime because you’re focused on a different kind of player. A “casual” focused game might have a dedicated player who logs in once a day for an hour… whereas Eve doesn’t support such players.

          Furthermore, your point was about popularity of the game, where subs is a poor measure with Eve. The actual size of the active community is much much much smaller than 350k. When talking about the popularity of a game, you need to count active individuals, not the amount of time or number of active subs, unless the amount of time to progress, or number of active subs themselves are good indicators of number of people.

      • bhagpuss says:

        Going back to something I’ve said a few times before (there’s a surprise) I often think of MMOs as taking me back to when as an eight-year old I’d kick a ball against a wall for hours every evening, not stopping until it was too dark to see. I did it because kicking that ball felt good every time I did it and kicking it never got boring.

        Just roaming around these imaginary worlds having these silly little fights with funny-looking creatures and seeing what they drop is one of the very few things I’ve found as an adult that brings back that sheer sense of open-ended, meaningless fun. If that’s working, any other reward is sugar.

        • Mekhios says:

          Yes agreed. Don’t forget blogs represent the most vocal minority of players. Most people don’t read them and are happy with games like GW2. But that doesn’t mean devs should rest easy. They should always find ways to push the genre forward.

      • Zyref says:

        I actually stumbled upon the jumping puzzles without knowing they had a chest… I ran it like a 3d platformer just trying to get through. Most of the time, I had no idea I was in a jumping puzzle, since that is how I approach most of these games.

  5. tithian says:

    I’m not entirely sure I agree with you.

    It’s true, that if you’re a hardcore progression player, then yes, GW2 is a shitty MMO. For the vast majority, however, that just likes to wander around, see the sights and feel heroic, then this will suit them pretty well.

    But you… you’re completely old school and completely at the minority. Very few people will tolerate today the old ‘progression trials’, just for the sake of the glimpse of some great fun down the road.

    For those in the middle, kinda like me, time will tell. I’ll probably stick around with it, because I’ve already found a few long term goals in the game and apparently I can go at them at my own pace, without having to stress about optimum efficiency and the like.

  6. Xyloxan says:

    I’m eagerly awaiting Syncaine’s post on this topic in about a month or two. Specifically, I’m interested in how much longer people will play their GW2 toons when they hit the cap. If they get bored soon after hitting the cap or create an alt he is right (i.e., about shitty MMO aspect of GW2). If they remain enthusiastic with their 80s roaming around for at least a few months, he is wrong. Let’s just wait.

    • saucelah says:

      But see, that’s the assumption, that to be a “good MMO” people need to hit level cap and keep playing. But there’s plenty of MMOs that many consider good where many, maybe even most, people hit cap and roll an alt or quit. Basically, every single game that has had a cap. Ever.

      I am mostly of the opinion that an MMO has failed if it has a level cap and an endgame. But I formed that opinion regarding games with sub fees — if the business plan expects players to stick around and pay each month, why have a game over screen and say “that’s it, you cannot advance from here?” But if the game doesn’t have a sub, why is that a problem? He admits himself that repeating the same raid 500 times for one drop was never fun, and his issue with GW2 applies to that as well. Eventually, there is no more gear out there to get. Why is it better for that to come after grinding the same content until your eyes bleed just to see something new?

      In the past, I would have said, “well, I guess that’s better for the company if they want to keep charging a sub, keep the simpletons in the Skinner box for as long as possible” — but if it’s not fun, and it’s not going to benefit the company at all, why judge the game as a shitty MMO because it lacks shitty repetition that no one liked to begin with?

      I’m pretty sure it’s an MMOG not an MMONEG — a massively-multiplayer online game, not a massively-multiplayer never ending game. Set your expectations accordingly.

      That said, I pay subs for games that give me long term cooperative goals for my friends and I to achieve together. I don’t pay subs for theme parks. I don’t think a loot treadmill makes a theme park better. I do think removing the sub allows the company to be free not to put in endless repetition to no end, allows them to make a game that ends, and when it ends, a player can walk away from it and only come back when there’s something new and shiny, without missing a step, or being told their gearscore is too low for the new scenario. I think that’s a good thing, not a shitty thing.

      • Xyloxan says:

        I tend to agree with SynCaine that a good MMO keeps you playing the same character for months or years. I know it is possible with sandbox games (I’ve played them) but less likely (but still possible) with themepark games. I played my first Wow priest (vanilla period) for longer than 2 years playing about 20 hours/week and paying ~$15/month. I consider this money very well spend. I know that Wow financial success is likely a striking exception with 13 million players, but I don’t believe that this type of experience is not possible anymore.

    • SynCaine says:

      Naw, in a few months when Xfire shows GW2 declining, people will either write it off as “Xfire lulz” or say something like “GW2 has no sub, so playing it a month and leaving is exactly what Anet planned all along!”

      It will be SW:TOR “I got what I expected from my $60” all over again.

      • SynCaine says:

        Example one above :)

        • saucelah says:

          I knew what I would get for my $60 in SWTOR would not be enough in one month to justify adding to that $60. But it’s past one month and I”m still playing GW2 without paying more, so yes, I am getting what I expected.

          Xfire numbers WILL go down. If that means the game is shitty, then you cannot claim RIft is a healthy, successful game. I agree with you that RIft is doing well, but its Xfire is way down from where it was within a month of launch. Xfire numbers DO mean less people are playing, but the number of people playing has absolutely jack to do with the value of the game. The equivalent would be saying that Usher is the greatest musician who has ever lived. Or that shades of grey is the greatest book ever written. Since Anet’s business plan doesn’t require its Xfire numbers to stay at launch levels forever and grow, it doesn’t say anything about the game at all except that less people are playing.

          You keep saying “people have to keep playing for it to be a good MMO” — prove it. Because grouping? Almost no one was playing on my CoH server before it went f2p, and I had no trouble putting together groups.

          Nope, just face it Syn, you’re butthurt that fellow sandboxers called you on Rift as MMO 3.0, and you’re determined to be the hipster and hate on anything popular. It’s sad really. I thought you were smarter than that.

        • saucelah says:

          and since you seem to be implying that I’m a blind GW2 fanboi who will stretch into knots to avoid reality, here’s something I wrote at launch: “it’s still a theme park, and dynamic events hammer that point home. They’re the absolute lowest point of the uncanny valley. They’re clunky, plastic, animatronic Abraham Lincolns giving the Gettysburg address at quarter past every hour for bored, sweaty, easily distracted tourists that only caught the speech at all because it started while they were sucking down hot dogs and soda before moving on to the next ride.”

        • spinks says:

          saucelah: That is an awesome metaphor :)

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          What’s Rift?

      • musik says:

        Actually, I will tell everyone that I predicted this would happen. They had fun while leveling up (or not), but didn’t understand what type of game they bought. Another part of them did understand it and felt it was not what would keep them going, but are fine with being entertained for some month while only paying one box price and plan to return once an expansion releases. I’ve seen the first one happen when GW:Factions was released and I have seen the second one (and myself done the second one 1 time) between every expansions release. It didn’t hurt GW1, it won’t hurt GW2. They got the box price, they will still make money with gems and continue to sell the game, while the world itself is overcrowded right now and new people will still join.

        Also an honest question: have I been part of the inspirement for this blogpost?No offense taken if it is the case ;)

    • Shadow says:

      Fuck, I’m bored and only level 50 something.

  7. dirtysouth says:

    Did not read the comments so sorry for any possible repetition.

    GW2 much like GW has a form of progression and grind on a hardcore level at endgame. You call it playing Barbie but lets be honest wow raiding was pretty much the same. People parading around IF after a raid to show of the sick lootz… The only difference between the two is in GW you cant freaking 1 shot someone with it which ruined any attempts at balance therefore forcing separate pvp gear therefore forcing another F’N GRIND.

    I think a lot of the people complaining about lack of endgame feel they deserve a gear advantage because they play 60 hours a week.

    If you don’t like it you don’t like it but I think the very shitty comment was a bit premature and harsh honestly.

  8. HebusOlivier says:

    In this article, It seems that you mixed two different things : content and progression. They are linked because both content and progression can be the motivation to play. ArenaNet try to have not a lot of progression, but have better content.

    About progression :
    In fact, ArenaNet always has said that there will not be end-game progression. They said that the only ‘grind’ at the end will be for cosmetic reason.They “hope” that player will continue playing or the cosmetic gain, or for the fun of it – or the ladder for competitive PvP.
    They have data from GW1 that at least part of the player are ready to do that.
    GW2 : no power progression, no horizontal progression, only cosmetic progression and player-skill progression for PvP

    About content :
    As you often explains, there is two sort of content : player generated and developer generated. Player generated content can be infinite (EVE) as long as players want to generate it. Developer generated content is always finite. GW2 is clearly striking for Developer generated one for PvE, and a bit of player-generated one for WvW – but WvW has been claimed as PvP for casual.
    Finite developer content has two different characteristic : it can be big or not, and gated or not. ArenaNet claim that their content will be big enough( similar to other recent MMORPG) but not gated and easy to access. In other games, content can be longer because of progression gate – but not bigger.
    GW2 : good PvE content, multiple one (through alts), a little of player-content for WvW but not a lot.

    If you looked for Progression, GW2 is bad : stats progression is limited, most or your possibilites are given in the first level.
    If you want content, and hate to have it behind some gates or “work” to have it, cool this is your game.

    I never understood the hype for this game : I find it perfect for *me*, but it is clearly not a game for hardcore MMOgamer, from WoW or from Eve.

    • SynCaine says:

      I’ll accept the above, and just note that while it’s very accurate, it sounds nothing like what Anet was talking about pre-release, and in no way even close to what GW2 fans were saying. GW2 does not fix MMO woes, it’s in an entirely different genre.

      Also as I’ve said before, open content with no carrot motivation is not something I think will ‘work’ for most, but we will see in a few months. I think the “it worked in GW1” angle is overplayed; how many people were playing GW1 a few months after an expansion? The game was never high on any metrics we could see, like Xfire.

      • bhagpuss says:

        I think this is the crux of it: your issue (SynCaine) looks to be far more with the way GW2 has been promoted and hyped, especially by ArenaNet but also by the rather rabid pre-launch fanbase, than with the quality of the game itself. Can’t argue with that.

        I never bought into the hype and what I got was pretty much what I expected. Also pretty much what I wanted. To hear people still making overblown claims is either amusing or irritating depending on mood.

        The one thing I do think is genuinely different and which should and probably will be copied by other developers is the same thing you pick out – the “other players are your friends” part. Other than that, it’s a nice, solid, very lovely to look at MMO with a good amount of content for a brand-new game.

        Entertainment providers overselling the originality of their product is hardly unusual. Just ignore it.

  9. Morgs says:

    Not only progression but progression towards something that the player feels is important.

    Eg) grinding some faction to gain a 0.01 crit is not worth it if the player does not think he has a use for the 0.01 crit. We needed MC because we felt we needed the 0.01 crit to do the next raid. We would not run it over and over to gear up our raid if there was no “next” thing.

  10. Syl says:

    I like that you specified on this subject. while I get why you dislike the lack of progression or that you feel ANet let down a promise, I think you’re going about the completely wrong way to prove why MMOs supposedly need it. by making comparisons to WoW of all games, which to this day still has the biggest mass of casual gamers subscribed. despite WoW having endgame progression, the majority of wow players are in fact not progression gamers. hardcore raiders/pvpers are a very small part of wow and always have been even if bloggers dont realize it (most bloggers are raiders or pvpers or have been). it’s players who are alting, solo questing, collecting and crafting and looking forward to pet battles, with the odd PuG run in the mix. wow’s critical mass are ‘dwellers’ in love with azeroth.

    so by all accounts, if you name WoW a successful MMO (which it is) it is not successful BECAUSE it has endgame progression – it just also happens to have endgame progression, to appeal to everybody!
    and thats exactly the reason too why GW2 should be doing excellent even without progression. sure, it disappoints a few people like yourself, but thats not critical mass. sorry :) the reason why GW2 is not gonna be as popular as WoW though isn’t one but several. I think I’ll cover this sometime soon…

    in any case, I disagree on your progression conclusion for MMOs. you also dismiss the fact that progression is more typical for sub MMOs, because linear progression like an endless stair can be a longterm hook to keep more competitive players playing. only, GW2 does not ‘need’ to keep them playing. and nobody raided MC 500 times because it was fun, syncaine – fun and progress was maybe 20 times or 30 tops. after that it was on farm and an endless gear grind to get everybody their sets and see asscandy dropping. I’ve been there myself, no need to romanticize.

    • Syl says:

      (asscandy for BWL lol…oh the memories)

    • SynCaine says:

      I disagree that WoW’s success has nothing to do with it having solid progression. I really don’t want to get into it, because it’s a long-ass topic, but yea, WoW was successful because it not only had long-term progression, but it was progression that people wanted to get into.

      And WoW was just an example. Again, look at what MMOs have been successful long-term, and look at their progression models. There’s a very strong correlation for a reason.

      As for MC and the 500 runs, there is no romanticizing. Unless you are telling me you hated playing WoW at that time but did it anyway for some strange unexplainable reason, MC and the whole raid setup worked. It kept you playing/paying.

      • Syl says:

        ‘MC and the whole raid setup worked’ – it worked for me back then because I was competitive, I wanted better gear and I wanted my guild to be top 5. I was not the average WoW player though in vanilla and thats my point.
        Blizz never ‘needed’ the hardcore raiders in terms of numbers. we already knew back then we were minorities.

        the progression content in wow works well in its classic setup and its a bonus; but the fact remains that the majority in wow are casuals – and the majority makes the game successful because they pay subs too.
        outside of wow you still have a very hard time to find many MMOs that are successful while also having more dedicated progression people than casuals. maybe not EvE but otherwise I see none that is different in this from wow.

        • SynCaine says:

          The hardcore were also the mod makers that made the WoW UI what it is. They were the ones organizing server events for casuals. They were the ones in epics that made some casuals go “I want that” and keep at it. They are the guild leaders of casual guilds. They are the ones bringing entertainment to everyone when they raided a city/hub. They are the ones who turned AV from an endless stalemate to a really fun BG. Etc etc etc.

          You lose the hardcore by violent protest. Without them, the casuals drift away in silence.

        • spinks says:

          Not every hardcore player is a hardcore progression raider, though. Some of those people who loved organising player events will have been in fairly casual guilds or roleplayers.

        • Xyloxan says:

          I was in a large WoW guild for several years (starting on day 1). One of the main reasons that our “casuals” kept playing and enjoying progression for months or years was their appreciation and often idolization of our hard core raiding elite. They listened to our stories of close encounters, and they eventually wanted to experience them too. And the only way of getting there was through progression.

  11. Coeur-de-fer says:

    On a related note, I love how the fan refrain has changed from “this game will revolutionize the industry,” to “you seriously listened to their PR? No one actually ever believed that, idiot.”

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