Like other MMOs in the past, Guild Wars 2 offers multiple styles of gameplay to reach a wider variety of players. They have to, because online players crave different things. ArenaNet offers typical cooperative RPG elements for PvE players, and competitive fast paced action for those that prefer PvP. WvW has always been in the center, trying to grab attention from both groups. While many have tried WvW, some players have too many worries to give it a real go. Perhaps that’s why we are seeing Living Story content in in WvW, through the addition of the Edge of the Mists.
WvW tries to combine the best of both the PvE and PvP worlds. While players can hack and slash at each other, they still have a sense of cooperation from their fellow players. The battlegrounds also house dynamic events that can help shape a server's strategy. WvW offers a point system, giving teams an objective to achieve victory. The maps are also large, and filled with details to explore just like those in Tyria. It seems WvW already has everything it would need to appeal to the PvE players.
Balance seems to be the biggest issue when looking at all these elements. PvP players aren't afraid to enter WvW, because the PvP elements are easy to spot. First by looking at the exploration value of the battlegrounds, it isn't nearly as exciting as exploring the regular maps. Yes the battlegrounds have points of interest, but the detail is very minimal compared to what's found in Tyria. This doesn't help make the play style feel comfortable to a PVE player. While they are still playing Guild Wars 2, it may be easy to feel like they are in a completely different game.
The first thing I noticed about the Edge of the Mists is that the detail in this map rivals what you would see in a normal PvE zone. It also have a certain feel of wonder that invites you to explore. I mean really, if you see a bunch of floating land masses you'd want to check them out too! This visual invitation to explore will be a welcoming sight to new players, hopefully easing them WvW.
PvE players love story, but it's not really present in WvW. The Edge of the Mists is being introduced with a background, while also serving as a handy overflow map for WVW. Many players have invested a lot of their time into the Living Story already, and of course they also have the desire to gain all of the achievements. I don't see anyone missing out on the story, even if it's in a part of the game they've rarely played through. This introduction through story is the most important element to help grab some normal players, and bring them into WvW.
Now that WvW will look like PvE, and have story elements, what's next? Now the new players have to be shown the ropes. ArenaNet better have everything very organized if they want to pull this off. The first thing they need to do is have any dynamic events involving the Aetherblades focus on tactical gameplay that mimics what we see in WvW. The Living Story releases have already featured lots of content that involves players forming zergs, which is a common tactic in WvW.
The Origins of Madness also introduced players to siege weapons. Knowing how to use these weapons effectively should be important to the success of these dynamic events, just as it is when taking on enemy forces. If the dynamic events can push the story along, while also getting new players familiar with WvW gameplay, we should see some new soldiers entering the battlegrounds.
The Aetherblades aren't a permanent part of the Edge of the Mists, but are a tool to help introduce some players to a part of the game they may have been afraid to try in the past. It also seems very fitting to introduce a new map into WvW while trying to also introduce some players to the action. ArenaNet has tried mixing in several PvE elements into WvW, hoping it would help players branch out to a new play type. I know a few players this worked on, but I know more that felt it wasn’t enough. They didn’t feel welcome. I'm interested to see what those same players will say after this week.
Do you feel Guild Wars 2 needs a better introduction into WvW? Are you excited for the Edge of the Mists? Let us know what you’re thinking 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.