Guild Wars 2 is still a very young game, yet ArenaNet has already added and changed several features. I think we all remember at launch how the game, though still great, needed some tweaking here and there to really make the experience feel whole. From fixing culling in WvW, to changes in daily achievements, Guild Wars 2 has come a long way since its launch last year. Here are just a few ways things that have changed, and what still needs some work.
Daily achievements help to keep players busy. You need a way to keep the game feeling fresh every day the player logs in. Back in the old days, these achievements were the same every day. I myself quit completing them because it felt like it was too repetitive. It was also really easy!
ArenaNet heard the cries of the players, and got to work refining the daily achievements. Now players have a new set of achievements to choose from everyday. Often these achievements can be completed just by adventuring in different parts of the world. Doing them now feels more natural, rather than just planning out a route to follow every day. Though it took a while for this change to happen, it was worth the wait.
The mere thought of trying WvW sent shivers down players’ spines. The horror stories of death from invisible players traveled quickly. Players wanted to take part in giant epic battles with hundreds of players, not just walk around and die unexpectedly. Luckily, this has been all been fixed, thanks to a few extra graphic settings and server-side calculation changes.
WvW wasn't the only thing suffering from culling. The Lost Shores event had hundreds of players all taking part in a series of large scale dynamic events. Often the enemy Karka would be invisible to most players because of culling. This issue can still be seen in large dynamic events, such as the battles with the dragons. If another event similar to the Lost Shores is going to be released in the future, it might be best for this issue to be addressed first. Maybe the new graphic settings could become universal.
Guild Wars 2 features a personal storyline. The story helps breathe life into your character, and gives him a place in the world of Tyria. The dynamic events and dungeons also add in story elements to Tyria, but it only goes so far. That's where the Living Story comes in.
The Living Story uses special dynamic events, instances, and dungeons that focus around a story arc to full the world more than the normal quests and events. The story arcs are structured a bit like the personal stories. It's great seeing more story thrown into an MMO, but expanding on story isn't the only improvement that comes from the Living Story.
The new instances and their way of presenting story are a great change in my book. Instead of 2 characters just standing across from each other talking, like what we see in personal stories, the cinematics are done just like they were in the original Guild Wars games. The actual environment is visible, with your entire party present in the scene which makes you feel like you’re in the story. I'm hoping all cinematics will be done in this fashion from now on.
Back in the early beta builds of the game, I remember getting a strange book after defeating some special bosses in the world. I think they were related to the skill challenges. When you used this book, it took you to a screen that showed a model of the boss, as well as some really neat back story to the character. It was a nice way to add some more lore of the world. Sadly this neat feature didn't make it to the final beta. My guess is that it was taken out because the books took up precious space in your inventory. It would be awesome if they were able to find a way to bring this back though. You can't go wrong with adding in more lore.
Guild missions added new ways for guild mates to come together and accomplish something while wearing their banners with pride. They can even have other players join in on the missions, further expanding on the social aspect of the game. But the experience of being in a guild is still missing something. Well that, or we just want guild halls really really bad. This feature was in the original Guild Wars, so it feels a bit weird that they are still missing. ArenaNet has commented on them being on the to-do list, but how far down on that list are they?
There have been several other changes since launch. The mini map has changed, allowing players to adjust the size and placement. Players can now preview weapons and armor while browsing in the Black Lion market. Though small, these changes help make Guild Wars 2 more comfortable to play. And while there have been a lot of changes, there’s still room for improvement. But at this rate, we won’t have to worry about the changes stopping. Guild Wars 2 is going to keep growing up.
What new features would you like to see added to Guild Wars 2? Share your ideas in the comments below.
David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com. David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them! If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.