I might be the only two-year old veteran of Guild Wars 2 that is excited about the recently announced changes to the new player experience.
Am I really the only one?
Most of the Reddit posts following the announcement are all in full-on bitch mode about how this change doesn’t affect or cater to players already at level 80, grousewhinecomplain, etc. so it’s hard to share any enthusiasm over there.
See, every so often in either Reddit or the GW2 forums, there’s always going to be this one scared newbie post about “help! I’m level X and I can’t level anymore / don’t know where to go next / getting bored shitless of these hearts.’
And these are the ones that actually bothered or dared to post, looking for help because they want to enjoy the game but don’t know how.
How many others just shut down the game and left?
Only Anet’s metrics know.
Somehow, these players aren’t connecting the dots.
I can’t fathom it personally myself, how hard pressing M and finding the next promising area to wander around in (of which, there are always at least two valid choices for each level range) could be, or what it is they’re doing exactly that’s leaving them bereft of xp.
My first character, I was just so thrilled to be standing in the GW2 world and able to -jump- that I combed every corner and talked to every NPC just because I could. I killed stuff along the way, did hearts until I got tired of systematically following them and then just went hog wild across the world instead, following the personal story through the open world, doing crafting, WvW, dungeons, the works.
Since then, I’ve been guilty of twinking up lowbies with +Power runes, food and wrenches, and those ubiquitous XP boosters and just running through packs of mobs that no one ever touches and gaining 2 levels every hour or less, never bothering with any goddamn stupid heart if I didn’t want to, so I guess my perspective is somewhat skewed by the leveling sandbox that is the open world.
Personally, I know I lost one RL friend to the leveling experience. Said friend came in after much persuasion, made an engineer, kinda halfheartedly got through Caledon Forest complaining the engineer felt weak and then I never saw him again past the start of Brisban Wildlands.
Might be he just didn’t feel like he had enough time to play an MMO, but I don’t think the leveling experience did him any favors either.
For -my- personal purposes, I’m pleased as punch to see the paragraphs:
“Players who don’t need direction can ignore this system and go exploring in any direction they want, do content in any order, and play any content they want exactly as they can currently in Guild Wars 2 as it’s available today.
There are advanced settings in the options menu for more experienced players that will allow you to change the functionality of the content direction system. You can select to disable it if you like the way the game UI functions now, or you can select “world complete” mode, which will focus only on providing direction to areas for world completion.”
That’s me. I level the explorer way, with my world at barely 41% complete before I’ve hit level 80, wondering how the hell do people run out of ways to get experience?
But somehow, they do.
I can only presume they don’t gather anything, don’t play personal story, don’t craft, don’t kill any mobs that aren’t an immediate “heart completion” task and never run into a single orange event because they’re unlucky.
So I’m really really happy that they’ll now have a developer-guided signposting experience that will give them the giant glowy arrows and immediate to-do Achiever list that these less-familiar-with-game-that-allows-exploration people seem to require.
It is, after all, an option. Different strokes for different folks.
Some people really need those warm fuzzy feelings from getting a guitar riff and trumpets blowing when they level up. Whatever helps them stick with the game and come to appreciate it more.
As long as the end result is more players playing GW2 and new blood coming in, what’s the harm?
(I can only hope that they won’t hit level 80 and become utterly confused and adrift at the perceived lack of endgame and no more signposting. But hey, WoW’s already given them an expectation of a bait-and-switch, so I guess they’ll just have to adapt to learning how to choose their own goals when they hit GW2’s endgame.
Worse come to the worse, they’ll have plenty of Living Story chapters offering a clear directed experience there too. Step 2: Pay 200 gems to unlock each! Step 1: Earn gold to afford 200 gems!)
A better extended tutorial experience that spells out systems so that lowbies coming in can learn and appreciate each nuance can only mean slightly more informed newbies when they hit max level. That’s a good thing, since they’re going to have to keep pace with practiced veterans getting older (and more burnt out or jaded) with each patch.
Hell, I’m excited to take at least one more character through the whole experience just so I can see if these new rewards are any more fun.
Maybe I’ll ditch the boring human mesmer and make a fun charr mesmer with a transmuted necro skull mask and run around confusing and tormenting all the things – new mesmer meta, yaaarrr.
Plus, a better paced Personal Story that actually gives you story chunks, rather than getting stupidly staggered out between levels where you’ve totally forgotten what happened previously by the time you’ve gone and helped some random Norn, fed feed to cows and cows to Charr, turned into random animals, fallen off some jumping puzzles, and now have got to go back to the Personal Story NPCs again.
Of course, the one worrisome casualty from this may just be key-farming. I guess those level 20 experience scrolls I’m accumulating will eventually have a use and equate to a few more keys.
Time to get a few more 20-minute runs in before the feature patch, methinks.