One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -

Last blog, I wrote about how broken WvW was because of how imbalancing the orbs were. They got fixed by getting nixed, which is great because now WvW is fun again. Even when you're losing, you don't feel like there's nothing you could conceivably do. I thought "Finally, these people understand that giving players stat boosts in WvW fundamentally undermines the main selling point of the game."

Then I heard about the recent article on the Guild Wars 2 website, which I'm linking to here: https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/linsey-murdock-unveils-new-high-end-ascended-gear/

Really? That's your grand solution to "lack of level 80 content"? Adding a new tier of equipment that requires more grinding is not what I had in mind when I said "I want more to do once I hit level 80". I'm not opposed to new equipment, but I want it to do one of two things: look pretty, or be different (not better). Adding better stats on equipment is terrible, and I don't appreciate having all of my previous investment in time being completely invalidated. The Legendaries are the top-tier of equipment, and if that's where you want it to be, I can live with it (although I'd rather the Legendaries be an expression of player devotion to the game, not a requirement to have max stats). Adding better stat equipment is a total failure, and goes against the design principles that made me like the original Guild Wars: minimal grind, just content.

So what do I want to see added in Guild Wars 2? The new dungeon is a step in the right direction, and it sounds fun. And I'm not opposed to new equipment, but I want it to be different equipment, not better equipment. I have an ele. My main-hand options are Staff, Scepter, or Dagger. My off-hand choices are focus or dagger. Adding a new weapon type would go a long way toward cutting down on how repetitive each class is. The original Guild Wars had incredible depth and variety, and while people "settled into roles", new skills always had the potential to shake things up.

I also very much do NOT want to see equipment that is relevant to WvW. I already feel out-classed by all-exotic players, and I had intended to be a crafter because it seemed more solo friendly. I won't be winning a race to the top, but slow and steady still completes the race. If more and better equipment is constantly being added, I'll never be able to keep up. If this were a different MMO, I'd just quit and say "Well, that's how it is," but this is Guild Wars, the game that touts itself as "the MMO that lets you have a life outside the MMO". Adding another tier of equipment is a big no-no with this kind of game design. Broaden and adding new equipment, or a different mix of stats that wasn't available before is fine, as long as they are on par with the existing stuff.

I do not play Guild Wars so I can get kicked around by people who play more often than me. The original designers understood this, and even said "It's like giving the chessmaster an extra queen -- he doesn't need it, and all it does is take the skill out of the game." Keep skill relevant, and don't force everyone to invest the time and energy into farming Legendary equipment just to have numbers that are competitive. The 60K armor stood in the original Guild Wars as a high-end goal that people looked forward to completing because of the cosmetic options, and was something to aspire to as a PvE player. The PvP players didn't care so much -- and they didn't have to.

I don't care how the other MMOs do things as an industry standard. I played Guild Wars because I didn't like the industry standard. You have a large existing player base you can draw from.

So to recap:

New dungeons are awesome. New tier of equipment (with bigger numbers) is terrible. New kinds of equipment, especially with new skill sets, would be awesome (but is not expected in this update). New Legendaries and other purely cosmetic new weapons would be acceptable.

My guild mate and I were so bummed out by the news that Guild Wars 2 intended to use a gear treadmill that we updated Vindictus and played some on that, rather than continue to waste our time in GW2 (What's the point? The equipment we get will be out-classed in 4 days). We spent the time comparing Vindicus to Guild Wars 2, and saying how much better it would be if the ideas we saw in GW2 were put into a game with combat like Vindictus. I'm going to keep my eyes open for that kind of game. I hope we're over reacting badly, but our disappointment with Guild Wars 2 is growing quickly. The big shining light is that the last big screw up (the orbs) got fixed even though it was bad, and the bot plague as subsided substantially (at least on the server I'm on). Please, come to your senses and stick with your principles. They were what made you money. If things continue as they are, I will not be buying any more chapters for Guild Wars 2.

#1 Posted by DragonBloodthirsty (470 posts) -

Last blog, I wrote about how broken WvW was because of how imbalancing the orbs were. They got fixed by getting nixed, which is great because now WvW is fun again. Even when you're losing, you don't feel like there's nothing you could conceivably do. I thought "Finally, these people understand that giving players stat boosts in WvW fundamentally undermines the main selling point of the game."

Then I heard about the recent article on the Guild Wars 2 website, which I'm linking to here: https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/linsey-murdock-unveils-new-high-end-ascended-gear/

Really? That's your grand solution to "lack of level 80 content"? Adding a new tier of equipment that requires more grinding is not what I had in mind when I said "I want more to do once I hit level 80". I'm not opposed to new equipment, but I want it to do one of two things: look pretty, or be different (not better). Adding better stats on equipment is terrible, and I don't appreciate having all of my previous investment in time being completely invalidated. The Legendaries are the top-tier of equipment, and if that's where you want it to be, I can live with it (although I'd rather the Legendaries be an expression of player devotion to the game, not a requirement to have max stats). Adding better stat equipment is a total failure, and goes against the design principles that made me like the original Guild Wars: minimal grind, just content.

So what do I want to see added in Guild Wars 2? The new dungeon is a step in the right direction, and it sounds fun. And I'm not opposed to new equipment, but I want it to be different equipment, not better equipment. I have an ele. My main-hand options are Staff, Scepter, or Dagger. My off-hand choices are focus or dagger. Adding a new weapon type would go a long way toward cutting down on how repetitive each class is. The original Guild Wars had incredible depth and variety, and while people "settled into roles", new skills always had the potential to shake things up.

I also very much do NOT want to see equipment that is relevant to WvW. I already feel out-classed by all-exotic players, and I had intended to be a crafter because it seemed more solo friendly. I won't be winning a race to the top, but slow and steady still completes the race. If more and better equipment is constantly being added, I'll never be able to keep up. If this were a different MMO, I'd just quit and say "Well, that's how it is," but this is Guild Wars, the game that touts itself as "the MMO that lets you have a life outside the MMO". Adding another tier of equipment is a big no-no with this kind of game design. Broaden and adding new equipment, or a different mix of stats that wasn't available before is fine, as long as they are on par with the existing stuff.

I do not play Guild Wars so I can get kicked around by people who play more often than me. The original designers understood this, and even said "It's like giving the chessmaster an extra queen -- he doesn't need it, and all it does is take the skill out of the game." Keep skill relevant, and don't force everyone to invest the time and energy into farming Legendary equipment just to have numbers that are competitive. The 60K armor stood in the original Guild Wars as a high-end goal that people looked forward to completing because of the cosmetic options, and was something to aspire to as a PvE player. The PvP players didn't care so much -- and they didn't have to.

I don't care how the other MMOs do things as an industry standard. I played Guild Wars because I didn't like the industry standard. You have a large existing player base you can draw from.

So to recap:

New dungeons are awesome. New tier of equipment (with bigger numbers) is terrible. New kinds of equipment, especially with new skill sets, would be awesome (but is not expected in this update). New Legendaries and other purely cosmetic new weapons would be acceptable.

My guild mate and I were so bummed out by the news that Guild Wars 2 intended to use a gear treadmill that we updated Vindictus and played some on that, rather than continue to waste our time in GW2 (What's the point? The equipment we get will be out-classed in 4 days). We spent the time comparing Vindicus to Guild Wars 2, and saying how much better it would be if the ideas we saw in GW2 were put into a game with combat like Vindictus. I'm going to keep my eyes open for that kind of game. I hope we're over reacting badly, but our disappointment with Guild Wars 2 is growing quickly. The big shining light is that the last big screw up (the orbs) got fixed even though it was bad, and the bot plague as subsided substantially (at least on the server I'm on). Please, come to your senses and stick with your principles. They were what made you money. If things continue as they are, I will not be buying any more chapters for Guild Wars 2.

#2 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

I think the outcry from the community over this has been ridiculous, as usual. People were even complaining about the new content we got for Halloween, so it's clear there's a certain percentage of the player base that exists and continues to play the game just so they can complain about it.

Here, I can at least understand the complaints, but I think they're totally unfounded. One of the biggest complaints about the game has been the lack of content once you reach level 80 and finish the story. There are legendary weapons to aim for, but they require so much investment, it's an unreachable goal for many. This new tier has been introduced (and it should be noted it's merely back equipment and accessories at the moment) so that there's more things to strive towards before you start working toward legendaries. The "power creep" is a legitimate concern, but if the new tier simply had the same stats as exotics, people just wouldn't bother trying to obtain them, making the addition pointless. There are already a lot of unique looking pieces of equipment that can be obtained via the mystic forge that most people aren't bothering with, because they only provide new cosmetics.

To me, it sounds like this is a one time addition to fix a current problem with the game. I don't think we need to worry about seeing "Ascended gear +1" in the next update and the buffs this new stuff does adds are simply intended for the new dungeon, they don't actually give you benefits (aside from the small stat increase) in any of the old dungeons/zones, so it's not like you suddenly need to worry about going to replace everything you're currently using.. That's just something you probably should eventually do.

#3 Edited by Dark_Lord_Spam (3299 posts) -

I don't really like the direction they've taken this, either. The reason legendary weapons are the endgame right now is because of how difficult they are to obtain and how much investment they require. If a new tier is necessary to keep fidgety players occupied, then just slap some cool new skins on it and make it harder to obtain than exotics (maybe even have some unique stat combinations on them), but quicker than legendaries. Murdock made a point of how few stat points differentiate exotics and ascended, but anyone who knows how RPG-players play knows that if something is top-tier, everything below immediately becomes garbage worth only the materials you can salvage it for. Exotics are already mostly out of my reach while I bump up my world completion in low-level zones, and an even more distant stat goal just discourages me from putting time into it. I farmed end-game GW1 content for my "badass skin fund," not an obligatory raid treadmill, and I sincerely hope they take whatever +2s are on ascended gear off.

Infusions, on the other hand, seem fine. It sounds like an expanded version of the same system from the first game, which reduced the damage done by a specific enemy type's signature attack (the mursaat's Spectral Agony), and was something that only ever mattered in PvE and for flavor.

#4 Posted by jesterroyal (351 posts) -

I feel like you didn't read the announcement. Currently there is no legendary armor. Legendary weapons do have better stats than their exotic counterparts but not by much. The stat difference across the new/old armor skins is absolutely minimal. I'm currently running around WvW with level 80 rares and masterwork jewelry and I can go toe to toe with most players. When I lose, i certainly don't fell like it was my armor that was the difference that killed me because its just not that type of game. I feel like you are over-reacting, like you said you hope you are. Its silly to split hairs over minimal stat gains that outside of WvW effect nobody but yourself(especially in the case of yakkingtons ring where the biggest benefit is MF). If your initial knee jerk reaction to an announcement you still know next to nothing about is to run to another MMORPG and complain about how terrible Guild Wars is becoming with your friends you should really evaluate the time you've spent with Guild Wars 2. I don't think ArenaNet has done anything bad by me yet and they care more for their game than you or I do. But they also have to keep people playing and investing in the gem store. To claim that they are not allowed to change or advance major systems in the game unnecessarily stymies the kind hooks they can put in to keep people playing. GW1 was also a much less expensive game to run than GW2 is because of the heavy instance so they need to keep people playing and paying way more than they did in GW1. Might I note in closing, all the previous investment that you are frustrated about losing also encompasses maybe 2 months of a game that will hopefully last for many years.

#5 Posted by Silvergun (297 posts) -

I think one of the problems with GW2 is that it's taken the focus off of the team like GW1 had (especially post-Nightfall), and placed it on your individual character. Other than eventually nabbing a set of elite armor for the looks, I never was terribly concerned about gear in GW1 since I had 4 characters to focus on, and spent most of my time coming up with awesome new skill combos for me and my heroes (and inevitably hoofing it to the middle of nowhere to unlock a new hero/elite/etc). It was the same sort of payoff you'd get from getting better gear, (ideally) your new team build would kill stuff better than the old one and good times would be had. Since GW2 doesn't have heroes, and the classes are a lot less specialized than the GW1 classes anyhow, you can't really do that in GW2. If you want to kill stuff easier, you need to make your numbers go up, and the only way to do that is via gear. WoW just embraces this and makes it all about the numbers (which works fine), while GW1 did away with it almost entierly. GW2 takes a weird compromise where stats do matter, but have a very easy to reach hard cap, after which character progression is pretty much impossible.

I don't think this makes anybody happy.

On one hand you have people like the OP who don't like the numbers approach because it shifts the focus away from skill and more towards time invested. On the other hand you have people like me who go kinda crazy without a sense of progression, even if it is 'soft' progression like in my above GW1 example. I have faith Arenanet will figure something out though. GW1 was really rough when it first launched, as was WoW, and both games took a couple expansions to really hit their strides (and figure out exactly what they wanted to be) and become excellent.

#6 Posted by shinboy630 (1139 posts) -

@Silvergun said:

On one hand you have people like the OP who don't like the numbers approach because it shifts the focus away from skill and more towards time invested. On the other hand you have people like me who go kinda crazy without a sense of progression, even if it is 'soft' progression like in my above GW1 example. I have faith Arenanet will figure something out though. GW1 was really rough when it first launched, as was WoW, and both games took a couple expansions to really hit their strides (and figure out exactly what they wanted to be) and become excellent.

I kinda agree with this. I feel (and hope) this is a temporary thing and that Ascended level gear will be the top tier for years to come in GW2. People can argue that they could have just added new skins instead, but adding new gear that is basically a few different numbers on a spreadsheet is an easier quick fix than creating new models for everything. We have all seen how quickly Anet can generate content for GW2, so I think that Ascended level gear was a knee-jerk reaction and was added to hold people over until a bunch of new skins are released in the first expansion, which I see coming sooner rather than later.

#7 Posted by Pazy (2579 posts) -

I am so very dissapointed by this. One of the things I love about GW and GW2 was the lack of Stat progression. I don't want to grind for better Gear, I want to be able to take a break without feeling like I was falling behind. There are a thousand other MMO's with that gameplay for those that want it.

I wish they would create new content and make the purpose of playing that content because its good and fun not just because you have to if you dont want to fall behind.

#8 Posted by Raios (52 posts) -

It seems like most of the outcry to this is from people over estimating the impact of this update, and unfounded pessimistic speculation about future updates. Personally I'm going to stick with the more calm and rational path of waiting to see how it plays out.

#9 Posted by celegorm_menegroth (63 posts) -

@DragonBloodthirsty: @DragonBloodthirsty said:

A) They got fixed by getting nixed, which is great because now WvW is fun again. Even when you're losing, you don't feel like there's nothing you could conceivably do. I thought "Finally, these people understand that giving players stat boosts in WvW fundamentally undermines the main selling point of the game."

B) Really? That's your grand solution to "lack of level 80 content"? Adding a new tier of equipment that requires more grinding is not what I had in mind when I said "I want more to do once I hit level 80".

C) I also very much do NOT want to see equipment that is relevant to WvW. I already feel out-classed by all-exotic players, and I had intended to be a crafter because it seemed more solo friendly. I won't be winning a race to the top, but slow and steady still completes the race. If more and better equipment is constantly being added, I'll never be able to keep up. If this were a different MMO, I'd just quit and say "Well, that's how it is," but this is Guild Wars, the game that touts itself as "the MMO that lets you have a life outside the MMO".

D) Adding another tier of equipment is a big no-no with this kind of game design.

E) Broaden and adding new equipment, or a different mix of stats that wasn't available before is fine, as long as they are on par with the existing stuff.

F) I do not play Guild Wars so I can get kicked around by people who play more often than me.

A) Removing the orbs didn't make WvW fun again, for me. In fact, it made the WvW game incredibly pointless and without a defining goal. It's become a point farm to see which server can reach the end of the week with the most accumulation that is mostly decided by the opening Monday. A huge side-effect of removing the orbs is that now during "off-peak" times there is absolutely no incentive for the player-base to thin out, and you encourage a concentration on to one map so players can kill each other with greater regularity to increase the number of badges they get. You end up simply hammering away at people for hours on end with absolutely no gain, no point and no investment. I can go to another map and capture every point ... but what do I accomplish? Not a damn thing.

Long story short? WvW is now a three day a week event ( Saturday to Monday ) with a four day badge grind afterwards. Yippie! ( side note: this has forced me to pick between the real event this weekend, and the wvw "event" ... I pick the real event ).

B) You knew there was going to be ascended equipment. You knew it was going to be a grind. Why are you surprised or upset? You sound reactionary and as though you are finding things to bitch about. There was in GW1, and it was no less of a grind. Go back and look at the requirements for that armor. I never had a single piece of ascended gear in GW1 because I was unwilling and unable to farm the required zones. To me, your argument that Anet has ruined the game by putting a tier of armor that requires a huge investment of time doesn't hold up. As others have said, the stat difference between them is going to be minimal, and the combat ( especially wvw and pvp ) is far more heavily predicated on player skill not player equipment. The only enemy player to truly kick my ass in wvw was an incredibly skilled pvp'er with a "Slayer" title. Had nothing to do with his equipment ... everything to do with the fact that in that Slayer's hands a mesmer is f-n badass.

C) It's not, see above. There is a difference between equipment at lvl 20 to lvl 80, but unless you're dueling ( which rarely happens ) it doesn't matter. Once you get multiple people going in the fight, let alone the meat-grinder-cluster-fuck that is weekend or grind-centric, the fact that you have 2 more points of power than the other guy amounts for exactly diddly when that ballista, opperated by a lvl 4, can kill you just as fast as everyone else who doesn't have extra power.

D and E) Eh? ... Disagree, see above. This is all aside from the fact that from all I've seen these things are going to be accumulative, and the infusing sounds more like the customization and stat variance that you want. So you say you want something on the one hand ( more variety and dungeons and customization ), but say you don't want the rewards for it on the other hand.

F) That's going to happen because the people who play more than you are, often, better at the game than you. And the fact that they play more than you means that they have accumulated more of the things required for this new ascended equipment. The fact that they are both equipping ascended equipment and better than you is not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are both effects stemming from the same cause. By earning one, you have probably earned the other.

I've read a couple of your blog posts ... and I honestly think that you had a picture of what you think GW2 should be in your mind, and every time the real game deviates from that you're upset. You want to play the game you have in your head, and you don't like what's really happened. As someone who can bitch about just about anything ... take some advice: Play what you think is fun, write down the things you think would be improvements on a scrap of paper? And then toss them into the trash. Release the stress. Then move on.

It's starting to sound like GW2 just isn't the game you thought it was going to be, and this makes you unhappy. Go play the game that makes you happy.

#10 Posted by shinboy630 (1139 posts) -

@celegorm_menegroth: You really like typing don't you.

#11 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (3299 posts) -

@celegorm_menegroth said:

There was in GW1, and it was no less of a grind. Go back and look at the requirements for that armor. I never had a single piece of ascended gear in GW1 because I was unwilling and unable to farm the required zones.

I'm not sure what you're remembering, but there wasn't any gear tiering in the first game beyond whatever expensive skins you wanted to farm. There was Infusion, but if you didn't want to do the one sort-of easy mission necessary to get it yourself, you could buy a five-minute run for donations.

#12 Posted by Bregah (3 posts) -

I think this change with the addition of a new tier of gear is hugely disappointing.

While I agree that there was a lack of "things to do" at 80, the Manifesto and all those dev quotes led me to believe that the GW2 team was coming up with many OTHER things to do at 80 besides getting new gear.

If I wanted to play a game that was a gear grind, I'd be playing WoW. At least they know how to do it, with all the practice they have.

I was expecting many things like the PvP mini-games at the Halloween event to be added, not quite simply a gear grind. Those games where fun the few times I played them, but because the event was so short I chose not to play them that much - because I chose to do other things - but things like that I kind of expected to be permanent.

I think the complaints about a lack of things to do were/are totally justified, but that's because what's in the game isn't really all that much, or isn't designed very well. What I mean by that is that yes, there are a ton of zones to explore and "complete" - especially if you want a legendary - the rewards are so small compared to Orr that at some level you always feel you're partially wasting your time, especially if you're also after crafting mats. Level 80 rewards for level 80 players in lower zones would spread everyone out a LOT (as so many people dislike the Orr zones), and perhaps to make that workable you could downlevel everyone an extra level or 2 - I don't know.

In the few dungeon runs I've done, I must say I've not been very impressed with them - I never felt I was being as challenged as much as even a WoW 5 man boss by any of the GW2 bosses - for the record I was always healer main/tank alt in every MMO I've played (I find DPS rather boring). I also am not really interested in any of the skins from the dungeons - but that's a personal thing, and I was just fine not doing many dungeons.

Also, so much of the content that was here at launch is still buggy as hell with no sign of being fixed. Some classes are still rather bad (ranger and necro from what I can tell - my 2 80's are Mesmer and Guardian, and my next highest is a 20 ele). And from reports (I've just gotten home tonight, so haven't been in for the new event) this Lost Shore first 10 hours has been an absolute bugfest and lagfest.

It just appears they are trying to do so much, too much for their staff, so none of it comes off very well.

To this point, the only changes in WvW thus far (that I can remember) are the removal of rewards for escorting Yaks and the removal of the Orbs. As I WvW quite a bit, there really needs to be more love given to WvW (I would start by drastically overhauling things that ANet probably never will, but my aim would to make as many of the matchups as fun as possible for as many people as possible - meaning close matchups - so I would somehow consolidate servers into multi-server teams or something similar).

It's not that I can never do a gear grind. I looked over my WoW stats (haven't been subscribed in over a year), and at my raidiest point (ICC during LK) I have, combined, 57 kills of each of the 1st four bosses in ICC, if you take into account 10 man and 25 man and normal and heroic. That's absurd, really.

Avoiding such farming is THE REASON I got GW2. If they had said "We're going the WoW route, but we'll do it better" I would have never touched the game (no matter how much I love GW1). This change is making GW2 more like WoW.

I guess I was expecting this game to be different, and to add many fun things to do at 80, but really all it has (apart from WvW) is grind. And the grind will now, pretty much, be the Fractals and Orr. Orr sucks (visually, thematically, mob density, etc), and I simply do not want to grind one dungeon forever, no matter how much fun it is the first 10 times I do it. Based on the numbers from early reports, NOTHING is fun enough to do it as many times as it seems it will take to get a full Ascended gear.

And I was expecting this game to be different because Arena Net said it would be.

But honestly, with the way GW2 looks to be heading - if I want to play a game like GW2 I'll just go ahead and play either WoW or Rift, as each of them do this type of thing better.

#13 Posted by Bregah (3 posts) -

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

@celegorm_menegroth said:

There was in GW1, and it was no less of a grind. Go back and look at the requirements for that armor. I never had a single piece of ascended gear in GW1 because I was unwilling and unable to farm the required zones.

I'm not sure what you're remembering, but there wasn't any gear tiering in the first game beyond whatever expensive skins you wanted to farm. There was Infusion, but if you didn't want to do the one sort-of easy mission necessary to get it yourself, you could buy a five-minute run for donations.

Yeah, that one has me confused, too. Infusion wasn't really all that tricky, and other than that, the only real "grind" would be to get top runes and insignias, and they were nothing compared to what this Ascended armor looks to be.

The armor grinds in GW1 were for looks only, which was fine. Getting max stat armor (not including runes and insignias) was very, very easy and quick, and GW1 did not suffer from that ease or speed.

#14 Edited by EXTomar (4725 posts) -

I don't mind "tier gear" but the issue is that the design of Guild Wars 2 is supposed to avoid this and be more "player skill based". Adding gear like this is dubious where I wonder if you only need Ascendent gear to do this content is it better than other gear out of other content? Or is the gear worthless (as in a little less worth) in "classic" content? And what happens when people complain they want more to do? Do they add "Super Ascendent Dungeons" that you need "Super Ascendent Gear" to do correctly?

I like the idea of a game that only requires "level correct gear" and I was hoping Guild Wars 2 would stick to their guns. I also agree that if players are hungry for new content adding new dungeon scenarios is a fantastic idea that will draw players to it simply with new looking drops where the new item gear with improved stats seems to be the wrong way to go.

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