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Why I am going to GW2 and believe you should as well

It talks about my past MMORPG and beta testing expereince and why the up coming Guild Wars 2 is the game to play

Author: Krosslite

Guild Wars 2: The history of the MMO and the Video Game and why GW2 is the way it is

Posted by Krosslite Thursday October 25 2012 at 6:42AM
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Let me preface this by let you the reader know that this is not an attack on either of these. It is meant simply to inform those that are unaware, have become confused that there are two different mediums and why. Additionally, you must understand that I was a teenager during the beginning of the bomb time for video game arcades. I was there when the first desktop computer was made available to John Q. Public. I was there when I gave my pre-school age boys their Atari for Christmas. So I am speaking form first hand experiences as well as documented material found elsewhere upon the web.


 
The Video Game Arcade
 
In The 1970's you could go to your corner stripe mall or to your local shopping mall and find at least one video game arcade within it. Filled with kids and teens. All placing their quarters and then the tokens into the video game. Spending their money trying to beat the newest video game that had been brought into the arcade. The arcade owner didn't have to worry about a large overhead for this type of business and also didn't have to worry about paying someone over minimum wage to work there. This allowed them to sometime grow into chains or even into specialty arcades like Chucky Cheeses which is still around to day in most state within the USA.


 
The Console Game
 
Toward the end of the 70's several of the companies that were making these games began to realize they were losing a lot of money to the those that ran the arcades. So they started to develop a way to kick the middle man out of the equation and bring that money into their hands. So was born the console game. As these become more popular and different brands came into being. Most playing the very same game you could play at the arcade. The death nil for the corner arcade was sounded. Now you need to go to D&B's restaurant arcade, or Chucky Cheeses and in the corner of your local movie theater to find what is left of the video arcades.
 
Now the companies that were making the programs could sell their games directly to the consumer. For those that have been around for as long as I have, may have noticed. The cartridges and then CD for the games have all been at the same price for as long as we can remember. Somewhere between $25 to $60. Usually toward the higher end of this pricing. Why? Because after a certain amount of sales of the games it is pure profit. Since it is a computer program and materials that do not cost much to make them. Plus they have made a good part of the development cost back already through the sell of the console. Again many may remember when the first Nintendo came out and it was selling at up to $300 that first Christmas it was released.
 
Here the demand to get that next great game was the drive. Add the next upgrade to the previous game. Thus keeping the on going influx of nearly pure cash to those that made and sold these game for the console.


 
The MMO
 
Soon after IBM released the first desktop in the early 1980's the first text games came out for computers. Some after the first modem came out and shortly after that access to the internet. When this happened those playing these text based games decided to make the first Multi-User Dungeon (MUD). In the early versions it was only a few people playing and socializing within them. A GM making content nearly weekly for not only their own fun but for those that were playing the MUD with them.
 
Then as people waited for new content they started to socialize in these game. Usually in the form of Role-playing. This grew into friendship not only in the game but sometimes outside of it as well. Then due to this social interaction with these virtual worlds as they were being call. More and more of these game came into being. It is as this time that I came into my first contact with one of them DragonRealms. Soon after this someone came up with the idea for a GMUD or Graphical Multi-User Dungeon and so the MMORPG was born.


 
The Massively Multiplay Online Roleplaying Game was just was it was called. A world where those that had been Multi-Users in various other virtual worlds come into one virtual world. Thus making it "massive." Within these games they continued to roleplay as they had before, but now it was on the screen in front of them not just in their minds. The most successful of these at this was EverQuest. Here the roleplaying mentality continued, with many RP servers.


 
It was shortly before this that a monthly fee was introduced to help support those running the MUDs to be able to spend more time making new content and allow them to quit their day job. Thus the birth of the monthly fee and why it was needed. This also was a large contributor to the birth of the MMORPG since companies saw how those that have quit their day jobs and were working solely on making a quality MUD were starting to get rich due to it.
 
But a new element was starting to be introduced due to that fact that it was now visual instead of text. Now those that had been playing console games were starting to be teenagers themselves. With money in their pockets and demands that sounded more like video games them a MUD and very little interest in roleplaying.


 
One company heard them and so World of Warcraft came into being and so the MMO that had been born form MUDs was now mixed with the demands of video game. This opened a watershed to all those that had or were playing video game. And so the clone wars (to steal a phase) began. Also those that had been in the vanguard of the MMORPG industry were left wanting the old days.


 
Then we have Arenanet. They witnessed the change of the game from what it had been when it was a text only game and you had to take your time unless you could read really fast. To a fast pace gear chasing game. More video game then true MMORPG. They were in other companies and had become discouraged by the clones of WoW. So they decided to make their own game. One they hoped would return to the pacing and feeling of what it had been when they were MUDs.


 
Guild Wars was born and many were happy, while many others were not. They made expansion packs and wanted to keep GW growing then they realized to make it really go in the direction they wished they needed to make a new game all together and so Guild Wars 2 was born.


 
Now we have returned to the roots of the MMO and those that had been exposed to what they believed were MMOs after WoW are now unhappy because the game is not like WoW. Nor can they call it a clone. Nor is it required to be fast paced. But to those like myself we see it for what it really is. It is a return to what can truly be called a MMORPG. So this has baffled and dumbfounded many who just don't know all that has happened since 1970. This is why I have written this. Hoping to enlighten those that wish to learn from history and not repeat it.

Requiemsvoid writes: While your article is nice in theory... I feel you missed the real reason why people are confused about GW2 and why they just don't care about their characters, story or the game world.

Personally, tho it seems that you're talking about adjusting your point of view to see the game in a better light.

IE: To make GW2 seem more appealing.

On that note however, I would say that if you INSTEAD.. approach GW2 as a standard 60$ Action/Adventure Console game (Skyrim) w/online co-op ~ then you’ll be pretty satisfied with your purchase and how GW2 caters to that mindset.

IE: Get in, play.. get out, walk away and wait for the next batch of DLC (expansion).

However, if you approach GW2 as an MMO ~ odds are, you’ll be disappointed for several reasons.

Standardized Loot / Character Progression / Combat::
1. Everything is set up so, no one really ever feels powerful.
2. Lack of trinity means, you don’t need anyone and are not needed by anyone.

The staples of an MMO are designed around creating a community from the players and promoting them to work together. ~ in this aspect, GW2 fails as an MMO.

Granted people can argue, saying that GW2 is amazing and is better off without the Trinity and having to rely on other players.

They then point to Dynamic events and how you “need” other people to kill mobs like Balthazar, Dragons, ect…

But do you really? are the faceless masses anymore “personal” than having a bunch of henchmen NPC to help you finish the event?

Think about it ~ we don’t know the names of other people at those events, because we’re not there for them ~ we don’t need to talk, we don’t need to socialize or even organize ~ we only care about the “chance” at uber loot (perhaps the precursor?) and to farm Karma/Gold.

Since those bosses are nothing more than HP sponges that hit like trucks (no tactics) ~ people just sit back and spam, leaving the few people that agro the mob to be chased by him, while they take pot shots at it and if someone gets low on HP they throw down their AOE heals.

Basically, GW2 tries to mimic the Trinity without creating a “need” for people to do anything more than zerg the content.

This trivializes going back to old content while being "leveled down" in that you see no point as you could "experience" the same content at your own level and at least get appropriate gear/loot.

Even the dungeons are designed this way with their “Corpse run, waypoints”.

In all senses of the word “community” ~ it seems that GW2 fails.

This includes the free 24 hour server transfers that shred any hopes of a well built community as well at the ability to join multiple guilds, and yet refuse to put in a multi-chat for each of them, requiring you to “represent” one guild at a time, in order to talk to other members of that guild.

The same goes for World Vs World ~ you cannot see enemy players names.. and there are no scoreboards dedicated to the very skilled or elite of the "leaders" ~ in fact, if you wish to be a "leader" you need only spend 100 gold on a tome to become a commander, there are no other prerequisites or skill based requirements.

IE: No one knows who you are or why you're deserving to be a "leader" ~ they only see an impersonal title.

When I talk to my friends of old, and why they use to play MUD's, Asherons Call and Ultima Online ~ they always talk about the "community" and how back then, those games WERE Facebook. As in, a place for like minded people to gather, socialize and enjoy the craft.

GW2 doesn't do that, and in my opinion is why WoW is still "king" ~ despite their outdated graphics and kung fu panda hijinks..

If you've ever heard someone shout "FOR THE HORDE!" ~ you can see without a shadow of a doubt that the game inspires and promotes a sense of community... for better or worse.

At the end of the day, can you really say that GW2 IS an MMO anymore than League of Legends, Team Fortress 2 or Playing Skyrim while talking to your friends on skype?
Thu Oct 25 2012 1:16PM Report
Krosslite writes:

Well I see your arguments to a point. The main issue I get from your response, which I thank you for by the way, is the community issue.

Yes I do see that, but I feel it is due to WoW that this lack of community exists. Even though I noted you feel otherwise.

I was in MUDs and EQ. Community in those had a different dynamic to them. Especial the MUDs. In them the community was something that had to develop over time. By this I mean several months. I got into a really great friendship in the MUD I played to the point that my character married her character the last night she played the game to head off to collage.

The community is still in it infancy within this game to a large degree. Yes there are guilds that have come form other games and many are growing. Still there is community developing.

Yes at times when a large open event takes place people at this time do seem faceless to a degree, but that is normal. Not only in MUDs, MMORPGs, but also in real life.

Virtual worlds are just that. Worlds. Within all “worlds” be they in a game on a computer, your job, church, synagogue, neighborhood. For the longest time people are faceless for sometime. Then slowly they start to get a face. You start to notice them. You wave, say hi, maybe even become friends.

The standardized loot system I feel is a huge plus toward helping the community grow. It removed another of the many elements that were introduced in EQ, and then increased upon in WoW, that was helping to fracture communities into elites and noobies. Clicks have always been a problem as are gangs in many places within society. WoW and its clones encouraged this negative behavior.

I still feel and believe that GW2 is a step in the right direction. It is a renaissance to those games before WoW. I have read more then once people saying they feel they back to a time before WoW in this game. Usually in a negative fashion, but also in the positive.

All we can do is continue within this virtual world and see how it develops and grows. Remember it was only been out for 2 months as of day for the headstarters. Relationships, even in jobs take longer then that.

 
Thu Oct 25 2012 2:18PM Report
Requiemsvoid writes:

@Krosslite

ah, np ^_^

You are right "building a community, takes time" ~ though.. I compared GW2 to console games for a reason. In that they go outta their way to trivalize everything that helps build said community.

Free 24 hour server transers, no names or ranks in WvW, no trinity or challenge in combat, corpse run waypoints in dungeons and standardize loot...

Do you know why people like League of Legends? why it's considered the most popular online game? http://na.leagueoflegends.com/news/league-legends-community-infographic

It's because people feel attached to their accounts.. that they build over time and that despite having only 1 tournament style map, 4 abilities and 2 spells ~ people feel like THEY matter, like without them, their team would fail and they too rely on others.

This is something a traditional MMO creates by utilizing the holy trinity ~ but GW2 threw that out the window in favor of "spam combat" where you knee-jerk your dps, dodge and heals to mobs that just soak up dmg and can one shot you.

The whole game is like that..

And with the only motivation being "playing dress up" via cosmetic (endgame) rewards.. people just don't care to stay for very long.

basically, World of Warcraft is NOT to blame.. because really, us players do the same thing in every game we play.. including consoles, where most of us come from.

Ever heard of speed runs?.. yep, I can beat Legend of Zelda OoT in under 6 hours! ~ or how bout survival mode? where you face endless hordes of mobs.. for no other reason than to have a higher score than your friends and climb a leaderboard.

At the end of the day.. People like challenging content and will always try to rip through a game.. just to say they can ~ it's up to the designers and game developers to curb that with in game mechanics that prevent or challenge players.. maybe even distract them temporarly.

But agian.. this is something GW2 has no interest in.

No matter how I look at it.. GW2 seems to be designed around the concept that it's a standard $60 console game, where you dive in.. beat it, move on and wait for more DLC (expansions).

Which to me, is a step back from what an MMO is and represents ~ a Community.

Thu Oct 25 2012 2:44PM Report
Evokerz writes:

If GW2 has trinity, quests and "end-game power gear chasing character progression" it will make this game the same like the rest of other wow clones mmo and losing its place as something different and unique among the rest.

Which also will raise a question on why are we playing GW2 when its the same like playing WOW, might as well playing WOW.

It's the mindset which has been set since EQ and WOW about MMO that makes some ppl difficult to accept GW concept about "end game cosmetic gears chasing instead of power gear", no holy trinity, etc. 

Tue Oct 30 2012 11:38PM Report
kjempff writes: I was with you up to your gw2 conclusion. Gw2 seem more wow than anything I have ever seen, just a different face with another financial model. Returning to the roots, it is certainly not in any way I can see. But lets see how things turn out, mmorpgs can change completely over some years. Thu Nov 01 2012 7:06PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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