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The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust

An older, casual player's perspective on MMOG's in general and GW2 in particular.

Author: Meleagar

Is GW2 for Casuals & Soloers? ABSOLUTELY!!!

Posted by Meleagar Monday April 30 2012 at 10:06AM
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Why even tease you about it? The answer is in the title. If you are a casual player, or like to do a lot of soloing in MMOGs, this is the game you have been waiting for.

You might be confused by the posts that have declared GW2 to be just another MMOG, much lke Rift or Warhammer.  Don't believe it; that is a superficial assessment.  To enter and play the game, it might look and feel like many other games, but Anet didn't go for a cosmetic overhaul of the MMOG genre; it went for fundamental structural overhaul. The deep difference won't be that noticeable until one sits back and ponders what they have experienced and how it is fundamentally organized.  But, more on that in future posts.

From the very beginning of the GW2 experience you are treated to epic, raid-style events. You always get your proper share of the rewards. These events just organize themselves out of the well-designed mechanics of the system. Without saying a word or formally joining any group or guild, you can find yourself fighting along scores of others taking down the biggest, coolest, most epic boss you've ever seen ,,. at level 1-3.  Nobody can exclude you from this content, steal your kill, or swoop in as high-level or arrogant-attitude spoilers.

As a casual player, I can't really commit to formal parties or raids simply because I have too much going on IRL to set aside 2-4 hours of time to concentrate on a game.  I would almost always be a liability in formal group or raid scenarios.  I have an aversion to formal grouping/raiding simply because my less-than-stellar playing skills would expose others to failure and lost time, and also - frankly - I don't like exposing myself to being attacked for what amounts to my casual playstyle - not having the best gear, not having the proper talent/trait spec., not knowing exactly what to do in every situation.

After playing GW2, I"m not really sure now how much time I enjoyed soloing was really just because I disliked grouping for the above reasons.  In GW2, I don't have to say a word, or read a word any other player in the game says.  In fact, I can shut the chat window entirely, and still participate fully in all sorts of end-game events, because the whole game is really the end game.

Think of the community repercussions of this. While some may bemoan that it decreases the sense of community, the only "commuinity" it decreases is the dictatorial power of self-appointed e-Napoleons who act as the informal gatekeepers of end-game content. They no long have such power; even the most casual player, and even the most "solo" players, get the best end-game content there is.

For you soloers, if you're like me, it's not that you disliked being around other players, you just disliked all of the baggage and nonsense that went along with it. In GW2, you can essentially solo along with any number of other people in chained, raid-style events. Here's an example.

I was was out wandering around some snowy area when I ran across an NPC looking for protection as he took his wagon of ale to some outpost.  I said okay. A couple of other players were standing around, apparently having clicked the same response.  Within a couple of minutes the NPC headed out, and there were about 7 of us were tagging along. Some raced ahead, others guarded the periphery. I hadn't said a word or read anything that anyone said other than the NPC. Essentially, I was having a solo adventure in the midst of several other players.

We fought off all attackers and got the wagon to the tavern.  After that, we all meandered in the same general direction, helping each other out .. until we happened upon an outpost, and more players. They had apparently failed to save the outpost from attack and were now going to try and retake it. I joined in, not saying or reading a word of player chat.  After a long, tough battle that was really enjoable, we re-took the outpost and the NPCs came back in.  The game then tells you your contribution level (not some 14 yr old with personaility isssues0 -  bronze, silver or gold - and you get your reward.

Of course, I do talk in-game to people. I'm not saying my regular gameplay is to ignore everyone; but it's such a relief to not have to chat - not have to LFG, not have to beg and suck up to participate, not have to put up with insufferable brats - just to enjoy top, end-game content.

Soloers & casuals, this is your game guys. Enjoy it.

More to come.


GW2: What Does "Overhyped" Even Mean?

Posted by Meleagar Friday April 13 2012 at 9:20AM
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There's been a lot of talk about how Guild Wars 2 is "overhyped" and that players who have pre-purchased it are probably in for a big letdown. These posts usually come with comparisons to other recently-released games, like Aion, Rift & SWTOR.  I think that in the sense that thse games were "overhyped" by zealous fans on forums like those found here, I 'd agree. Those games, however, delivered pretty much what the developers promised as far as game philosophy, mechanics, and graphics.

The implication here is that even though those games, to any reasonable criteria, delivered what the developers promised, the players that were very excited about those games, and considered them to be the best game ever based on that information, were left disappointed, and now would (at best) warn others away from the hype surrounding GW2, and at worst are just trying to spoil GW2 excitement.

I think a more germane question would be: why were they disappointed? Those games - Aion, Rift, SWTOR - delivered what they promised.  If one was excited about the gameplay, graphics and overall philosophy that developers outlined for those games, there is no reason for them to be disappointed - they got what was promised to them by developers.

So, here they are, camped on the GW2 forum throwing up post after post, thread after thread of negativity towards GW2.  If you're like me, you pre-purchased GW2 because of what is already known to be in the game. Open-world raid-like events anyone can participate in. WvWvW.  Deep, varied class systems with no holy trinity. Personal stories and instances.  How can I possibly be "disappointed"?

I think the disappointment is generated simply because those games - SWTOR, Aion and Rift - didn't become "the next big thing"; the WoW-killer, so to speak.  Those who are disappointed wanted to be in the next big thing from the beginning, and be the leet rulers in the new WoW.  It's not that they were disappointed in the graphics, the game mechanics, or the game philosophy,  because they knew what they were getting when they bought those games.  Those things were not over-hyped at all.

What was over-hyped, in the minds of those now disappointed, was how popular they thouight those games would be.  IMO,  they thought one of those would be the next "it" game, and they wanted to be a part of it. Instead, those are just three more games in a otherwise well-saturated market that a decent number of people play. They're really good games, but they're not WoW, or WoW-killers.

I - and many like me - don't care if GW2 is "the next big thing"; I only care that it deliver what it has shown to already have from all current information, and stay true to that design philosophy. Design philosophy is what kept me from buying Aion, Rift, and SWTOR, and it's what keeps me from being remotely interested in any other MMOG currently in development or on the market.  Anet has actually made an MMOG I"m interested in playing.  As long as it is popular enough to support WvWvW and Anet doesn't sell out its design philosophy, I'll be quite satisfied playing GW2.