GW2: These Are Not the Designers I Am Looking For

Let’s see:

Guild missions are now instanced, separating guilds from ever interacting and cooperating with another guild by chance, or allowing randoms to wander in spontaneously with a guild.

Raids are, in the designers’ minds, going to require Ascended tier gear to defeat, and presumably be tuned and adjusted that way by observing the current progress of the highly organized guilds.

What the hell just happened to the game that was supposed to build a friendly welcoming and inclusive community where one doesn’t have to look upon another player with hostility?

You have no idea how –angry– this makes me.

I suppose I will wait and see how it all turns out and give them the benefit of the doubt for now, but if this ridiculous trend continues into the next year… Four years may be about my MMO lifespan limit.

There’s always modded Minecraft, I guess.

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21 thoughts on “GW2: These Are Not the Designers I Am Looking For

  1. bhagpuss says:

    Can’t argue with that. It has been coming a LONG time, though. I have always put it down to the failure of the first major event, the Karka Invasion. That was the tipping point, I believe, when the spirit of the team that built the 5-year project we all read about and kept the dream alive through the open beta and the first 2-3 months after launch was broken.

    Exactly the same thing happened in Rift. They ran their first major world-scale event as a heavily-promoted, one-time, St Crispin’s Day tell-your-grandchildren “I was there” deal and it flopped badly and there was a massive backlash. That game changed direction and ethos from that one failure and so did GW2. Difference is, Rift got re-modelled into a WoW-clone in a matter of weeks while it’s taken GW2 three years.

    It’s there now though.

    • j3w3l says:

      I can’t help but think in both those cases the backlash should have been analysed more thoroughly. Those insane one time rewards during karka as well as the insanely buggy, laggy and constrained aspect of the event were the main issues in my mind.

      Rift too could have just polished and improved that model, maybe give something special for the zone when a major invasion has been defeated. POlish and lag fixes too.

  2. Wandering into a random guild mission and being rewarded for it is one of the ways in which people are introduced to the idea of joining a guild. What a strange world it must be in which guilds and their presumed wars are hidden in away in instances.

    I’m not sure whether you’re keeping tabs on Twitter at all these days, so here’s a tweet from @All_Caulle, GW2’s lead raid designer as of roughly five hours ago from the time of this comment:

    “Earlier wing bosses can prob be killed by top tier players in mix of asc/ex. Last boss should be full asc.”

    May the quartz be with you.

    • Jeromai says:

      That is the exact tweet reported on Reddit that sent me into a very high level of anger about 5 minutes away from going to bed.

      Fortunately, I am of the subset of people who can sleep on anger and have it drain away. I’m now more or less of a grimly fatalistic mind – a sort of “well, let’s see where this insanity takes us and when it gets to be too much, it’s time to stop.”

  3. Aywren says:

    I was angry like this back when raids were first announced. That was the major sign to me that GW2 was going in this direction. My annoyance wasn’t so much at the raids but the kind of change in gaming atmosphere and development the concept of raids signified. I already figured ascended armor would be required because most raids are all about leet-leet-leet. I sorta-raged about it at the time, then just let it go… cuz this isn’t the game I loved at launch.

    Sadly, my instincts were correct. I can’t foresee it doing anything but going deeper into the abyss.

    • Jeromai says:

      Ditto, I was already concerned too when raids were announced because I dislike the segregation and inherent “elitism” from closed instance encounters only a special few can do.

  4. Retro says:

    Maybe I’m just an optimist, but I look at Guild Puzzles and Challenges as a positive thing. I’ve lost track of how many times my guild has had to wait around because while everyone is forming up and getting to where they need to be (it’s a large guild), a guild rolls in and starts the event. If one of our members is too close to the action, they can accidentally get credit for the entire guild. So while random strangers are losing the chance to tag along on a mission, we also don’t have to worry about random strangers grabbing the Crab before our carrier during Crab Toss or freeing Quaggans if we’re trying to coordinate Deep Trouble with another guild. It’s not perfect, but I’ll take changes to guild missions that benefit my guild and worry about recruitment later.

    As for raiding, I’m holding my opinion until Friday when we can get in there and see what’s actually going on. I too had reservations when they announced Raids (I would have preferred any other name, there’s so much baggage attached to that term) but I also know that if anyone can make raiding different from the snobby elitist garbage that raiding is known for, it’s ArenaNet. The absence of lockout timers, loot rolls and the 10 player cap are already the best decisions they could have made, and I’m eager to see what else is in store.

    I will say, however, that an *awful* lot of noise is being made over a single tweet with very little explanation or clarification. I look at it this way; they *HAVE* to be building content with the “Best in Slot” gear in mind because building it for Exotic gear means players with Ascended Gear will have an easier time due to raw statistical superiority. By building the content with Ascended as the high water mark (and they’ve been pretty clear they won’t be raising that mark any higher), it means skill is going to be the determining factor for the majority of players. As with all existing content, a really good player can perform just fine without gear being an issue. I hope this carries into raids.

    So.. like I said… perhaps I’m a bit optimistic, but I’ll wait until I see how these systems actually work in practice before I start talking about abysses and tipping points.

  5. Jeromai says:

    Better to make the noise now, while things are still adjustable, and Anet can get a gauge of the different customer segments’ concerns.

    I guess part of my unspoken frustration is also a memory of how a couple of Anet designers were hanging around during the first organized group attempts at Triple Trouble Wurm. While it’s nice that they cared enough to observe how the fight was going in person and even contribute, I couldn’t shake off an even older memory of some immortals following our elite group on a MUD through some tough bosses and grinning. The implication is that they are very much designing the challenge for the top tier, and everyone else below the top tier will never experience the same “almost personalised” experience in the early days.

    Couple that with some rather startling revelations overheard over Teamspeak as to why GW2 doesn’t show boss hp numbers and just a percentage bar (basically has to do with adaptive scaling by players nearby), it struck me that the designers could very well intentionally make the fight easier or harder any time they wanted, by tweaking the hidden numbers.

    In other words, it’s kind of an intentional “lead you by the nose” thing where they can create a really hard challenge for a few months to frustrate the hardcore subset (and idiots like me who compulsively like to see content first) and then tweak it down later for others if they feel the need… I vividly remember struggling to put out sufficient dps for wurm phase 2 and the whole group being somewhat at their wit’s end while the designers seemed pretty satisfied… (Because they knew something we didn’t, ie. Low level scaling to be adjusted in a couple months or so, allowing for higher crit chance… Which, of course, makes it a ton easier to do sufficient damage post-change.)

    And I dunno, maybe I’m just getting tired of being bait-and-switched, in a way.

    • Sylow says:

      On all you write, i have to single out the part with hiding then numbers: i do not see how that is a negative thing. Wound ongoing balancing actually happen, that would be a mark on the positive side.

      On the other hand, the “would” is very much essential. Whenever i try a new class or race, i reliably manage to find bugs. Just yesterday i started playing a Ranger and lo and behold, my pets did not keep the names i gave them. A quick search showed me that the bug is rather new, it’s merely three years old and is known since launch.

      This happens whenever i try something new and the fact that such a small problem is not fixed yet after three years just tells me how much they actually care for quality: not at all. So i doubt that the “frequent hidden rebalancing”, which you seem to be afraid of while they actually could be good for the game, will ever happen.

      All in all, i will continue playing the game the way i do: very casually. With the sidenote that if the game wants to push me more into organized play, which i don’t intend to do in this game, i’m very likely to simply abandon it.

    • Aspeon says:

      I recall them claiming (in the PAX presentation, I think?) that they weren’t going to nerf raids, that completing them would always be a challenge and accomplishment whether it was the day they come out or a year later. That’s true in the sense that there wont be new gear tiers from future raids invalidating the existing ones, but other balance changes like the scaling adjustment can still make things easier.

  6. caerphoto says:

    It’s odd that they seem to be heading in a WoW-like direction, but haven’t picked up one of WoW’s best Raid features: different difficulty levels. I’m not suggesting GW2 have an LFR-like faceroll level of difficulty, but it’d be nice if there were perhaps two levels. Heck maybe they could go with the whole Story/Explorable thing again.

    • Jeromai says:

      I would have totally no problems with that. Scaling / variable difficulty levels allows for players to pick their entry and exit point as desired, similar to fractals (minus the AR aspect) and still participate in the story/content.

  7. kiantremayne says:

    I have a feeling that raids are going to end up the great ignored feature of HoT, because as they stand they seem to be pitched at, and tuned for, the elitist knobjockey crowd but don’t offer the rampant gear stat inflation that the knobjockeys need to get from raiding, in order to ‘objectively’ prove that they are better than non-raiders. Creating raids that don’t offer tier after tier of ever more overpowered items, and truly are there solely to present the challenge that the raiding crowd claim is their true motivation, seems like an expensive way to call these people on their bluff, even if it is going to be entertaining as hell to watch.

  8. Ravious says:

    “What the hell just happened to the game that was supposed to build a friendly welcoming and inclusive community where one doesn’t have to look upon another player with hostility?”

    It still exists, just not in every single game type. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water just because they are adding exclusive things. You don’t have to like every single game type in an MMO.

    Also do guild missions require an instance? Or is it an option? If it’s the latter, I see absolutely no reason for complaint. Guilds that want run-ins can still have them, and guilds that want it to be an activity exclusive to the guild can have that too. I would assume my guild would go for run-ins, and then swap to an instance if it appears we are wasting time trying to spam a new map, wait out a timer, etc.

    • Jeromai says:

      It’s about the overall culture it promotes. Let’s see, sPvP is known for trash talkers, so let’s do nothing about that, just let them be toxic in that game type. WvW is competitive in its own way and the WvWers segregated themselves off long ago. The fortunate thing in both those game types is that it is still easy to penetrate for new interested players.

      We already have dungeons and fractals which focus on a specific meta and where PUGs feel free to be abrupt to other players with the “wrong” AP, the “wrong” class, the “wrong” behavior.

      Now we will have competitive exclusive PvE in raids. Tell me what kind of overall game culture that promotes to an onlooker looking in.

      Plus accessibility and penetration of raids is a problem if the threshold is at Ascended gear, it’ll be just about as accessible as fractals 50. Not exactly the easiest way to have an influx of new blood.

      Also, you’re mistaking criticism of aspects with personal liking or disliking. Someone data-mining my personal behavior over the past few months would say that I’m a prime candidate for raids, between only logging in at a set time to kill Triple Trouble Wurm, and then assembling a set of Ascended armor in one night and shooting through fractals in a month playing that game type daily.

      I have 22k AP, stockpiles of Ascended mats, hoarded Ascended recipes both for personal crafting and if those particular stats suddenly rise in demand due to raids, personal profit. I could very easily just shut myself off and self segregate to the ranks of the “can”s and say, fuck the can’ts, they’re whiners, if they cared about it, they’ll put in the effort.

      And -that- is the exactly ugly negative behavior I’m protesting.

      Because that type of negative behavior being set into a culture means a game with no future, newbies come in, play only the few game types they enjoy, having been told in a rude fashion to ignore everything else they don’t like, which the designers appear to be lavishing attention on… realize there’s nothing else for them, and quit when done.

      Challenges and puzzles will be instanced. There will be no option given.

      Some of my happier social moments were when my guild met another big Tarnished Coast guild by sheer coincidence and say HI and basically both bumrushed challenges together. Both are perfectly capable of doing it alone, but it was just a fun socialization opportunity that popped up by chance.

      Yes, rush and bounty will still be open world, but both those types involve the guild in a more fractured sense, people split up into individuals or smaller parties to do those. You don’t get the same powerful sense of -guild- accomplishing something together.

      • Sylow says:

        I find your dedication admirable. I mean, i am at the very opposite end of the spectrum for GW2: i am a very casual player, i have three characters at lv. 80, and one of them was leveled almost exclusively with the tomes from the daily login rewards. My only ascended gear was bought with laurels or was a reward from the living story. I lately actually joined a guild, but while i know that they do guild missions and stuff, i didn’t manage to join them yet.

        My loyality to the game is low. Today i was told that content might be “hidden” (or gated) behind the raids in the future (no idea what that exactly meant) and if that rumour turns out to be true, i read it as the message that i shouldn’t waste more time and money here.

        Thus i find the contrast interesting, in terms of GW2 i am the casual you fight for. I personally will shrug my shoulders and move on if the game doesn’t want me. There are other games who also like my money. The developers of GW2 at the moment also mostly send signs that people like me are not who they cater for. Too bad that this was not as obvious before the HoT preorder, for which i can’t get my money back now. But i still haven’t bought the character slot for the revenant and am also tempted for some bank and bag upgrades, which i will definitely delay till i know how things turn out.

        You on the other hand are the one the developers think they cater for and unlike them, you seem to understand the necessities of also catering for casualy to stay profitable. I guess that’s the real difference, you love the game and care more for it than both the developers and casuals like me.

  9. lothirieth says:

    Since when is *every* part of an MMO supposed to be for the casual, solo player? Why can’t people like me, who enjoy group content, challenging at that, in an area where I can play with similarly like-minded people, have what we like as well? Why does my preferred game play have to be ignored in favour of someone else’s?

    I’ve simply never gotten this mentality. I don’t like sPvP. So I don’t play it. I don’t like WvW. So I don’t play it. I don’t like the event-only maps such as Orr, Dry Top, and Silverwastes. So I don’t go there. Do I begrudge those portions of the game getting updates catered to them? Or rewards specially for those areas? Heck no!

    *My* happier moments in MMOs is when I’ve spent countless hours with my semi-hardcore raidgroups and *finally* beaten a boss we’ve been fighting for months. My more frustrating moments have been things like the Marionette fight when a player or two refuses to read chat or learn the fight or take any advice whatsoever failed the phases for the entire map.

    I too was a bit “Hrmm….” when I heard that the raids would be balanced around ascended gear as I don’t think it should be necessary for anything but high level fractals. But I realise they do need to balance raids around the top stats. Honestly, I think ascended gear should have the same stats as exotic and its only function being the ability to add agony resistance.

    But with that said, all dungeons paths or even Lupi were balanced around 5 people, yet we see loads of people who can solo those sorts of things.

    In the end, GW2 will still have a metric crap ton of open world, cooperative gameplay and LOADS for soloers or the more casual to do. To be quite blunt, I find your expectations completely unreasonable and problematic. There will now be a very, very, VERY small portion of the game dedicated to people who like instanced, difficult content, and you’re all “The whole game is horrible now!”. I don’t understand why you don’t support diverse content. I don’t understand why you think it’s fine for people like me to never have the content we enjoy most. Raids have always been my absolute favourite thing about MMOs and I’m thrilled GW2 has finally gotten with the program and expanding their game so it can be even more inclusive and cater to even more diverse play styles.

    • lothirieth says:

      And for all your concern over that there will be elite groups who are closed off?

      Who the hell cares?

      There will still be PLENTY of welcoming guilds out there who do welcome all and who do take the time to teach and be inclusive. Like my guild.

      We’ve all seen plenty of unpleasant stuff in open world content yet you’re only up in arms about this happening with raiding. There will always be shitty humans out there who ruin spvp matches, who are jerks in pugs, or talk crap during Tequatl. There will also be those people who refuse to learn, who refuse to better themselves, and seem fine with messing up fights for an entire map. But these are not reasons to entirely do away with a type of content.

      It’s because of both of those sorts that I’m glad for more instanced choices. But for people who want easy access to different fights or don’t have much time and just want to jump in, or have no interest of being in a guild, I’m glad GW2 has lots of larger, open world content for them to participate in.

      I still assert every single portion of MMOs should not be for every single person in the game. That is a completely, factual, impossible goal because humans have different instances. I fully support diverse content. But this whinging about elitism as a reason to not have raids is just doesn’t make sense as there have been elitists in every MMO since the day of their launch. Just ignore them, find people you like to play with, and get on with your own fun. That’s how life works.

      • lothirieth says:

        meh typo: humans have different preferences.

        I realise I’m coming off quite angry about this and that’s because it’s opinions like yours that absolutely ruined LotRO for me. The devs ended up catering to the mindset that everyone should be able to do everything. They completely watered down the game, raids became non-existent and it absolutely decimated my alliance. We were semi-hard core, but always had open applications and were fine with teaching as long as people were willing to follow directions and improve.

        It was so sad to have our preferred game play just done away with all because the company thought they could get more money if they made all parts of the game for everyone. Turns out they were spectacularly wrong. The raiders were often the ones experiementing with new builds, writing in depth class guides, teaching, providing lots of stuff on the auction house. Raiders were also RPers, people who taught in pugs.

        I’m sorry but you touched a nerve and I tire of people trying to deny me the parts of a game I love most just so that they can do *everything*. I’d never expect all parts of a game to be solely made for me. It all comes down to supporting diverse play styles which is what the GW2 devs are doing. /soapbox, /rant, /I’m done.

        • Jonathan says:

          @lothirieth

          I think the difference here is one of marketing, product positioning and communication. Guild Wars 2 has had a fairly significant identity problem for some time — this just highlights it.

          From hype stage through pre-launch interviews through beta, Arena Net placed Guild Wars 2 as being the opposite of a raid-oriented game. Armor progression? There wouldn’t be any — Exotic was the best there was, and Legendary had identical stats (changed a few months after launch). Raiding? There wouldn’t be any — level cap activity was the same as leveling, participating in the ever changing landscape of constantly changing and adjusting zones and event chains, with scaling to make sure that anyone could participate (changed several times, with evolving zones never really happening outside of the added in year 2 “Living Story”).

          One key point they prided themselves on, unlike all those “other games”, was that you never, ever had to be annoyed or concerned with someone joining you. Resource nodes? You each can get them. Adding to an event? Won’t mess you up, can only help — might just make it scale up a bit or get more complex.

          They positioned GW2 as — not exactly a casual game, but a very welcoming, friendly, bring all your buddies and join together game.

          It’s been pretty obvious for some time that the original vision hit some harsh reality or some changes in decision making personnel. I think some of the angst is coming from that.

          Is it bad that GW2 will support raiding as another play choice? Well, no. But it does signal, quite strongly, where ANet’s resources are going. More indication of what the new vision for the game is. I worry about it from a business perspective. You can always fire your customer base, but getting a new one is sometimes tricky.

        • Jeromai says:

          I’m finding it hard to understand your assumption that I am saying “no raids” to GW2, and to deprive the so-called hardcore from any challenging content.

          If you actually read the original post, I was unhappy about them putting guild missions into closed instances when they have always been open, and the balancing of the raid around Ascended stats (which is easy to get for a veteran who has been sitting around crafting the time-limited portions every day they remember to, but usually involves about a month or more of effort for a new player, be it leveling crafting to 500, time-gated materials or earning the gold for it.)

          I thought the directions of GW2 raids as challenging open world content or something akin to the Marionette/Lion’s Arch hologram fight were rather innovative and still fairly inclusive.

          Closed small group instances send GW2 towards the direction of any other MMO on the market today, and promote an exclusive mindset through design over inclusivity… which runs somewhat schizophrenically counter to all their painstaking goals of yesteryear.

          If Anet suddenly decided that they wanted to make their open world full loot PvP, I think that would probably be worth at least an eyebrow raise and some pointed commentary too. 🙂

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