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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

GW2 Launch Part 2: 170 Hours Played Impression

Posted by Meleagar Friday September 28 2012 at 7:42AM
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There's so much to write about, I hardly know where to start.  After 170 hours played, my highest character is level 35.  Actually, I have two characters that are level 35, one is level 22, and two more are in their high teens.  GW2 has destroyed my concept of having a "main" character and having "alts".  Why have a "main" when there is nothing to rush to, no reason to hurry through the leveling process?  In other MMOG's that had specific class roles, most players might find one or two professions they enjoyed playing, but the diversity of each profession in GW2 makes it so you can probably find enjoyment in playing any of the 8 professions.

Let's face it: in other MMORPGs, there's really not much reason to spend much time doing anything other than leveling as fast as possible to get to the "end game"; in GW2, the whole game is really the end game.  You're not going to be doing anything fundamentally different at 80 than you do at level 2, so you can take your time and explore the content in every nook and cranny of Tyria.

GW2's Tyria, though, is packed with so much content that you can spend a lifetime exploring it and still not find it all.  Beyond getting a character or two to level 80 as fast as you can (if you're still myopically following the treadmill style of other MMOGs), there are many, many diferent storylines and permutations of storylines to explore with your stable of characters. There are truly different weapon, skill and trait combinations to use that can provide radically different ways to play any particular profession.  The options are astoundingly deep and varied.

Beyond the "100% Completed" map checklist, there is a world of stuff to discover not even listed on the map.  The underwater regions is like an entire new game on its own.  There are nooks, crannies and treasures just waiting to be found by those that explore more than just what it takes to complete the map checklist.  There are breathaking views to find not pinpointed by "vista" icons and villages not officially marked as a "point of interest".

Besides the NPCs one would engage in their storyline and which are marked on the map, there are countless intersting NPC activities to watch, voice conversations and comments to listen to, and dialogue to explore.  There are books to be found and read, objects to pick up and use.  Every time I go into a zone, I find something different and interesting.  I've passed by NPCs having casual conversations and realized they were talking about something relevant to my storyline. 

The WvW areas are like entire other worlds to explore, and they are enormous.  Finding ways to contribute in WvW is yet another challlenge when it comes to arranging the weapon and skills you carry into a situation.

Claiming "there is no content' or that one has consumed all the content and are bored because they have a level 80 character or two is preposterous.  They are bored not because there is no different content to experience, but only because they cannot advance their level 80 characters in any way that makes them more powerful. For them, "content" is really just "whatever the shortest route is to maxing out a linear checklist of progression." So, if they got a couple of crafting professions up to 400, then "check", in their minds, they've consumed the crafting content.  If they've got 100% map completion, then "check", in their minds they've seen the whole world of Tyria. If they've progressed a character or two to 80 and finished the storyline, then "check", they've experienced all the character progression and story GW2 has to offer.

Then, they argue that all that is left is essentially repeating the content via "alts', or with their level 80 characters, and that repeating content is not fun (often claiming it isn't fun for anyone, or for most people), and that it is less fun each time you do something - which is patently false. Playing pool is not "less fun" each time you do it. Swimming is not "less fun" each time you do it.  Getting burned out on something because you force-feed it to yourself more than you enjoy it is not how everyone engages their favorite entertainment activities.

At 170 hours, I've only scratched the surface of the content available, and I'm loving GW2 every time I log in.  But then, I'm not playing the game to put marks in checkboxes and efficiently max out all official forms of character progression; I'm exploring the deeply diverse, interesting and beautifully rendered content of that the developers at ANET have so lovingly dispersed throughout every inch of Tyria.