Guild Wars 2, is it what GW1 players really want? by Krytina Starfire
Apr 09, 2007 23:16:07

If the recent announcement of the existence of Guild Wars 2 was not a surprise, then the details of it certainly were. In case you've been living in a cave, counting your gold for the last 2 weeks, the news is this: 2 new Guild Wars games were announced. The first, Eye of the North, continues the Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall story into an underground warren of tunnels north of the Shiverpeaks. It is more of an expansion than Factions and Nightfall were as it is not a stand-alone game and there are no new professions. Essentially it acts as the glue between Guild Wars and the other new product, imaginatively titled, Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 is certainly not what I was expecting. I am surprised that both games were announced at the same time so Eye of the North had half of its thunder stolen by Guild Wars 2. NCSoft have broken Golden Rule Number 1 - Don't make an MMO sequel. I understand that they would want to trade on the Guild Wars name. It has a large fanbase and Arenanet will expect to sell more games because it says Guild Wars on the box. Using the Guild Wars brand for a range of MMO games seems to be a viable idea, but a direct sequel is quite limiting. Guild Wars 2 will be much more of a traditional MMORPG than Guild Wars is. It will have a persistent world, potentially no level cap and most of the other features of a game like WoW or EQ2.

NCSoft have said that they have backed themselves into a corner with their current method of releases and gameplay. If this is the case, then I can understand why they would want to start afresh, but they have abandonned the core features that GW players love so much.

I decided to look at why I play Guild Wars game and not other MMOs.
Before Guild Wars, I was a player of Star Wars Galaxies for a very long time. I even stayed after the disaster that was the Combat Upgrade, but the NGE was the final straw for me. But Sony's loss was Arenanet's gain and I have played Guild Wars for well over a year now and I consider myself to be quite experienced. I love Guild Wars for many reasons, but a major one is the way in which it has deftly eliminated all the annoying features of most "standard" MMOs. The things which annoy both myself and many other players about traditional MMOs are:

1. Lag. Too many moving polygons in one place is a recipe for big lag.
2. Queuing to get online. You have paying customers who want to use something they are paying for and they regularly can't do so. Not a good business strategy.
3. High level players acting like jerks and aggroing mobs, which they then bring towards lower level players, who get slaughtered.
4. Players camping a spawn or boss so they prevent you from getting some quest item and instead charge you a fortune to buy it from them.
5. Enormous zones simply to say that the zones in their game are bigger than those in another.
6. No story. You just wander about randomly doing every quest in the game.
7. Grinding.
8. The Cost. Kerching!

Guild Wars solved the vast majority of these problems by the revolutionary way in which the game worked. The game was instanced so any lag was limited to cities and if the lag was still too bad, you could always go to another district in that city. I have never, ever had to queue to get online in Guild Wars. I have yet to met anybody else who has either.

The biggest stroke of genius was the game being instanced as it solved multiple problems at once. This meant that all the missions and quests could be completed. You could not fight for an hour and finally reach your goal only to find some jerk camping you boss, because only you and your team are in that instance of the world. The engrossing story in Guild Wars is something of a rarity amongst MMOs. The game is more linear than most in order for this to work, but it works successfully because you increase in talent as the game progresses and so do the enemies. You can get to level 20 in one day relatively easily in Factions and since the focus is on acquiring skills throughout the game, you don't spend your time grinding. Aimlessly crafting the same pointless item and then deleting it 20,000 times never improved my playing ability at all, but trying new strategies when I acquired new skills is constantly improving my abilities as it forces me to learn new ways to fight.

Finally we have the cost. Guild Wars is Free to play. Never underestimate that word. You may think that the deathstar, gravity or even Bill Gates is the most powerful thing in the universe - but you'd be wrong.

The most powerful thing in the universe is the word Free. People will walk through fire to get to something free. Guild Wars is not actually free of course, but a one off payment in the Virgin Megastore is a lot easier to budget for if you're a teenager than trying to harass your Dad every month for another 15 bucks. This was a stroke of genius by the marketing people.

Guild Wars eliminated all of these problems by doing something different and revolutionary. You can be revolutionary once, but if you try to do it a second time, you end up back where you started from with a game that's just like everybody else's. GW2 will use the same Free to play model that GW1 does but that's about the only similarity.

I am aware that Guild Wars 2 is likely to change considerably between now and its planned release at the end of next year, but it would be so much more interesting if they made GW2 happen on another planet in the Guild Wars universe rather than a different time on the same planet since you have to inherit a sizeable amount of "pre-existing baggage" from the previous game. My New GW Planet idea would allow the new game to have characters, races and situations that are completely different to the pre-industrial society that we are used to. My multi-guild-wars-planet idea also opens the door to a multitude of separate Guild Wars games, each on their own planet, each selling under the Guild Wars brand but with different technological eras and styles of play. This would allow Arenanet to expand the GW franchise into multiple areas and
attract new gamers.

The developers could make this second GW planet into a more standard MMO if they wish, but there would always be the opportunity either at the outset or in an expansion pack to allow a character from GW1 to travel to GW2 once space travel was perfected. This would allow lots of cool sci-fi technologies to exist since different planets could easily have different terrain, different problems to overcome and crucially different levels of technological development.

There would need to be some limitations to stop phasers and energy shields being taken back to Ascalon to prevent the searing but I'm sure it's not impossible. The inability to bring your existing characters over to the new game is an unforgivable error and will cause a large amount of whining on the forums over the next 2 years. I'm sure Guild Wars 2 will change direction many times before it is released but I fear that the uniqueness of Guild Wars will be lost and GW2 will end up just like all the other MMOs out there and that would be a travesty!

"Begun the flame wars have."

-Krytina Starfire

Submitted by Brent on Apr 09, 2007 23:16:07 CST (comments: 5)


Comments:


'That's not all either' by Melski
Submitted on 2007-04-10 05:36:34 CST
A lot of people at my guild have been wondering what they are on too. I have no problems with them starting a new game, thats fine. I too was getting sick of having to level new characters to 20 with each expansion and being treated like noob every time.

However, I have heard many statements saying that Guildwars 2 is going to be for "us" - the current player base. I strongly believe that is not the case as they are dropping many of the things that make GW my game.

All the things you have mentioned are key, however I feel they have already mentioned dropping other key features from GW2 that has made me play GW for 2 years.

I play GW because the content is for level 20 characters. I hate WOW because everyone does the instances at levels that generally makes the instance unchallanging. "Anyone want VC? We have a lvl70 war!" Yeah great fun. I love the skill factor. So what do they do? Increase the max level by 100 odd? What are they on? "Oh, but the power gain decreases more and more!"... so I have to grind more and more and more so people are going to play with me? Please.

If I have to get to lvl100, when am I going to have time to create my 8 other characters? I have one character in WOW, I don't have the time for another one! I have 8 characters in GW and I've enjoyed the various different playing styles, apperences, etc! I can't see that happening in GW2!

They talk of having just a single side kick, what happens when theres no one around that I can play with? I can load up solitaire that's what.

These three points, and the way the have changed GW over the various expansions make me think that GW was more of a fluke (the practice of "gating" for example).

I also don't believe they are going to be making any more content for GW once GW2 comes out, so they wont be "splitting" their player base at all. Upgrade or just collect silly things like golden eggs every weekend for the rest of your GW1 playing life...

I guess I had better get a whole lot of fun out of the new "hard" mode on the missions, as I suspect that's going to be it until someone looks and sees that theres some money to be made by filling in the gap for the social/part-time/short-of-time players that GW2 is going to loose.

I still hope, but my hope fades everyday.



'I think GW2 should allow your GW1 chars as sidekicks' by Lostinspace
Submitted on 2007-04-10 08:28:40 CST
I would like to see feel some connection to GW1 t least (it is suggested that would be a minor "feature")One thing that might allow some continuity would be where your GW1 character is immortalized as a sidekick in GW2.- I kinda like that thought. Maybe there needs to be quests in GW2 to "unlock" one or more GW1 characters.


'All good things...' by truedevotion
Submitted on 2007-04-10 13:35:48 CST
How's that for a quote?

Well. This is just a reminder to not overly invest your livelihood into GW or any game. It is, ultimately, a game marketed to make money. Sure. Try to influence it to be of your liking, but even if it turns out to be something you don't want (e.g. WoW clone), that just means that now you can get out and play in the sun.

I know I've personally had many sleepless nights and zero-productivity weekends due to my addiction to GW:Factions. I've slayed Shiro several times over and yet I feel nostalgic enough to start over from Shing Jea Island with a new character and still get a thrill out of the brawl @ Vizunah Square. But if all this ends, hey, that just means I now have my life back to go hiking and biking and all the other activities that don't require adjusting my skill bars before taking off.

Just a perspective.




'Thanks for the responses' by KrytinaStarfire
Submitted on 2007-04-14 12:49:37 CST
As you can probably tell, I wrote this article in a huge rush. I apologise for the grammatical errors and the way it meanders about aimlessly at times. Please forgive these problems as I was rushing to get it finished and emailed to Brent as I had to get to Heathrow and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to have a good rant in the competition!

The main point of the article was this: We love Guild Wars because of the way it is... not in spite of it !

I understand that NCSoft need to change a few things but all these changes are far, far more than are necessary. I know that its "only a game" and I shouldn't take it so seriously, but as it is so early in the development process of GW2, we have a chance to stop some of the worst changes from happening.

Thx for the responses. There are some great ideas there. I'm not sure about going outside though... sounds scary !



'Oh we've been complaining' by randomtime
Submitted on 2007-12-04 02:32:26 CST
Go onto GuildWiki and look at the archived talk page for Guild Wars2. So many compaints, theories etc it's unbelivable.

Anyway if it SUX we can still play GW1




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