One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

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:

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.