[GW] One Hell of a Limb

Posted: August 11, 2010 in Guild Wars

I just watched the Guild Wars 2 video.

How’s it stack up against other MMO Trailers?  Let’s run down the checklist:

  1. Loud Music… check!
  2. Flashy graphics… check!
  3. Developer voice-overs… check!
  4. Promise to reinvent MMOs… check!

By all standards, yes, this is a MMO Trailer.   Some of the comments by the devs really have me worried, though.  I mean, all that is said sounds great.  And it really caters to the sense of MMO burnout that the general player-base is experiencing.  But, come on now.  Are they going to come out and say “Yes, you’ll keep doing the same thing as other games!”  No, not so much. Let’s look at some of the grandiose statements and see just how plausible they are.

We just don’t want players to grind in Guild Wars 2.  No one enjoys it; no one finds it fun.

That’s great.  Everyone hates grinding.  But really, isn’t a bit o’ grinding a necessary evil?  I mean, shouldn’t you HAVE to put in time and effort into your character in order to make yourself better than the person who just signed up ten minutes ago?  While the gap between “haves” and “have nots” can get too wide at times, the gap must exist in order to instill a sense of accomplishment with the player.  Whether it be grinding mobs to gain a level, running Scenarios in WAR to get that weapon, or do that dungeon another time or two for that piece of armor in WoW, players expect to be able to advance their characters somehow.  Besides, it’s only a grind if you don’t enjoy it.

As a structure, the MMO has lost the ability to make the player feel like a Hero.

Yes.  That’s true, but isn’t it valid as well?  If everyone is a hero, then nobody’s a hero.  In the IT support business, if every helpdesk ticket comes in as a URGENT OMG priority, it’s as if no tickets came in with that priority.  If everything is on fire, nothing is on fire.  As a player in an MMO, you are a unique snowflake, just like everyone else.  You are part of the same game world and have the same origins as every other player.  What you do with your character will define who you become as part of the social community that the MMOs offer.  Not everyone can be a Hero, nor should everyone be a Hero.

It’s your story.  You affect things in a very permanent way.

Holy crap. Back the train up.  So, a griefer can permanently affect my gaming experience?  That is “not Ok”  The beauty of the current MMO world is that it isn’t permanent.  If JackHole35 runs by and slays my mob I needed for a quest, I’m down a couple minutes waiting for him to re-spawn.  If he were to permanently kill my mob…I’m screwed?  That doesn’t sound fair, nor fun.  It’s like Perma-Death.  I’m pretty sure the community these days (which were once ok with Perma-Death) would consider that rubbish.

A single decision by a player cascades out in a chain of events.

That’s lovely for a FPS or a RTS or something besides an environment which houses thousands of players.  How will the game not devolve into utter chaos?  The only way to keep some sort of civility and give player that Heroic feeling is to mitigate some of these cascading chains of events.  That’s pretty contradictory, if you ask me.

You’re rescuing a village that will stay rescued; who will remember you.

Who else can then rescue that village?  With this type of permanence, we’re talking about either a metric shit-ton of content, or we’re talking about Live Events.  Both of those require resources to accomplish.  Resources that will need to be paid.  With no monthly fee, who is going to pay for this?  I smell a Micro-Transaction system down below that hasn’t been announced yet.

Some things just don’t add up for GW2.  I think they’re either going to break open the MMO market and revolutionize it, or they’re going to burnout within a year.  Either way, it should be a damn good show.

You can check out the full video here.

  1. Tyanon says:

    I like this. Pretty much exactly what I would write 🙂

  2. Rank-n-Vile says:

    Wowsers…you have a lot of valid points here. I started to throw some thoughts your way on Twitter…but lets do it here, as I have a few notes…and yes, it is TL:DR; sorry.

    Let me tackle each point in order…

    1. Grind. Just because a game requires some way to approach a “reward” that requires you going over and over to a spot, does not mean it is in GW2…remember, original Guild Wars avoided this by making rewards accessible as you reach a “tier”. Armor for example was gained as you reached level so and so. But, what may prevent that grind is making each level the exact same distance. But, lets note…everyone has a different view of “grind”. For example, I see NO grind in GW, but I truly see it in WAR.
    Anyways, I think Arenanet’s Mike O’Brien explains it best…
    “[a] batch of MMOs out there that are crafted to have very precise reward schedules, where a lot of the focus of the game is on anticipating the next reward. And that’s where it starts to turn into grinding – having to play monotonously to get to the next reward.”….GW2 is suppose to avoid that. Guess we will have to wait and see.

    2. Hero. This is easy to explain away. No one cares about the other person in the first place. When I am in a group, I see myself as the powerful one and keeps everyone up…yet that other guy is probably thinking the same thing. It is like in PvP where every person that plays a class thinks their class is gimped…and that this other class is OP…they think THEY should be the hero.
    So, Arenanet was smart…by putting the reliance on each person to be their own healer, tanker, DPS’er, in retrospect it makes you the hero, because the only way YOU die is by YOUR faults. Again…we will have to see how this plays out.

    3. Permanence. Right away you go back to the old school way of thinking…”If JackHole35 runs by and slays my mob I needed for a quest”…uh, Quests are not truly in the game per se. The system is based on support, etc. According to Arenanet, there is always something to do. You contribute to “situations” and gain XP. No more Question Marks and needing to get this particular mob from this particular spot. Read up more on their Public Questing styled system to grasp how this will work. I always ask if people ever played Pen and Paper Dungeons and Dragons. Think of how you were rewarded XP…based on what actions you took. We never had a guy telling us “Kill me 10 rats”. In so many words…this will be like VERY old school RPG’ing. PS: Important fights are to be instanced to avoid the “gank”.

    4. Events Cascade. This one is hard. But, the way it has been read is that one event could lead to another event to another…etc. You save a village from a Horde of Centaurs, but as you were fighting the Centaurs, a group were poisoning the wells of that village. If you or another group does not find the antidote, then the village dies. Now, while this is going on, a group of bandits start hitting the shops in the village…etc, etc. The Cascade event.
    Eventually the Village can be saved (or Damned) by any of the events if you win or lose. This then could set the village at a restful state for a period, and you move on, or lets say the village died, and a fortnight or two pass…and the village is now full of undead.
    Oh my the possibilities. But, as you stated…how does this work. Again, time will tell.

    5. That Village….so, here we are. At that village, and here is where I hit the wall. How can they continue to do this? They must have killer tools to introduce new events quickly and efficiently…but, I also smell micros. And I have no issue with that. I am leery on this one though, and can only assume they will be pushing for a box sale every 6 months or so.

    Until we see the demo though….no one knows for sure. But, we as MMO players always feel burned by what has happened that we think of what the “worst” could possibly be.
    This time I refuse to do that. GW had proven to be a fantastic piece of work that avoided the pitfalls of most MMO’s…so I am extremely confident in Arenanet.

    Time will tell, eh?

    • Rancid says:

      Should I feel bad that your reply is longer than my post? Ha!

      You’ve got some good points. I, like a lot of MMO players out there, have a certain image of what an MMO is. It’s time investment, it’s mostly fun, and it’s a blast with other people. I think they’re trying to redefine that, and it could go either way. If the community is accepting to the idea, then you’ve got a smash hit. If not, then you kinda flutter off into the realms of WAR and Age of Conan. I really look forward to something different, something unique and something game-changing. Unfortunately, every MMO has said they’ll be the one to bring it to the table. I’m burned a bit, like most others.

      I do hope, though, that they’ll nail it and we’ll see a new wave of what the MMO could be.

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