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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

Sadly, ANET Blows It

Posted by Meleagar Tuesday November 13 2012 at 9:05AM
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On the GW2 forums, a poster named Arnath said about the upcoming "Ascended" gear and anti-Agony upgrades to be found in the upcoming GW2 update:

"That blog post would have been written hours if not days before this information was released and before people started complaining, dont get mad at that blog, wait for a new update with more information and then we can have a constructive conversation.

Right now people are just getting upset over nothing."

Okay, let’s look at the most recent blog post the moderator directed us to.

On the official GW2 news blog, Linsey Murdock said: As we watch Guild Wars 2 mature in its Live environment, we have found that our most dedicated players were achieving their set of Exotic gear and hitting “the Legendary wall. We designed the process of getting Legendary gear to be a long term goal, but players were ready to start on that path much sooner than we expected and were becoming frustrated with a lack of personal progression.

This means that hardcore players maxed out their progression, Legendaries were really, really long-term goals and hard to get, and so the hardcore player base was getting frustrated with lack of character progression even after they hit 80 and got their exotics.

Our desire is to create a game that is more inclusive for hardcore and casual players alike, but we don’t want to overlook the basic need for players to feel like they are progressing and growing even after hitting max level.

Now character “progress” and “growth” has been redefined as a “basic need” for all MMOG players in order to justify adding hardcore-specific content to satisfy one particular segment of the player base – hardcore players that burned through the available content in 3 months and are “frustrated” that there “isn’t anything else to do” but the long grind for Legendaries. 

By adding challenging new combat mechanics to end-game content…

This is a devastating phrase, even if it is casually slipped into the post. They’ve clearly given up on the “the whole game is the end-game” concept. By adding unique “new combat mechanics” to specific high-level content, they’ve actually now created a separation between “end game” and “the rest of the game”.

…and ways to mitigate those mechanics through gear progression for high-end players,…

“The whole game is the end game” ? Why rush content in for “high-end players”? This is exactly what WoW and every other game does: try to appease hardcore payers by constantly adding content so they can “feel” like their character is “progressing” and “growing”.

Where are all the new level 1-79 armor skins? Where are all the new city clothes? Where are all the new emote/animations? Where are all the horizontal, non-power, non-combat paths into sideral content? How about new hairstyles, tattoos, dances? How about new weapons at every level, new weapon skills? New traits to choose from all up and down the level ranks?

Oh, that’s right, all the casual players aren’t frustrated and complaining like the hardcores who consumed all the content already, so once again, the hardcores get unique content and unique gear and the rest of us get … what?

The first end game mechanic we will introduce is Agony, which will be encountered in the Fractals of the Mists dungeon, and is mitigated by Infusions.

The first “end game” mechanic? Isn’t THE WHOLE GAME THE END GAME?

As we release more new end game content in the future…

Errr ... isn’t THE WHOLE GAME THE END GAME? Did ANET just forget all of that? This is obviously ANET panicking that they are losing the playtime of hardcores that consume content the fastest, and reaching out to them by promising a future full of item progression.

The new additions in November are just the start of our item progression initiative. We’re going to add tons of new high-level content to Guild Wars 2 in the future. As we introduce the new high-level content, we’ll also roll out complimentary Ascended and Legendary items (to say nothing of the other rewards you can earn by playing the content).

There’s just no way to read this other than: we are catering to hardcore players who demand item progression and figuring out a way to work it into an end-game that isn't supposed to exist separate from the rest of the game. Maybe we’ll even toss in some scrub-sauce for casuals in non-"end game" areas if we have time.

Look over my past blog posts. I was probably the most excited about GW2 and the most happy and satisfied with the game when it came out.  I've logged in over 440 hours and I've spent $120 in the cash shop. Until this news, I was as happy and satisfied with the game, and as excited to log in, as I was the day it released.

Now, I'm just sad and disappointed. What a shame.  They had actually succeeded in creating a different game, a true alternative to the WoW-Clone, gear-progression saturated market, and now they're just blowing it by catering to the hardcore community.

Nephaerius writes: While I'm waiting to see how things turn out.  I mean if the gear is only incrementally better I'm not going to sweat it.  But, overall it appears to go against parts of their design philosophy they have previously espoused. Tue Nov 13 2012 9:52AM Report
Meleagar writes:

The problem is that Linsey flatly states that this is the just the start of a new item-progression "initiative" aimed high-end players and "end game" content, clearly throwing out the entire original concept of doing away with the gear-progression treadmill end-game available in virtually every other MMOG on the market.

Tue Nov 13 2012 10:06AM Report
lotaparty writes: i am still looking closely at the game ,reading reviews . day by day there faults are coming up .not good news ,if game goes downhill than i will not buy it in may next year .lets see how it goes Tue Nov 13 2012 11:59AM Report
Rommie10-284 writes: Sadly, I have to take this as evidence of what kind of player spends the most money to play.  AN has to chase them with the no-sub model, and I'd say it's very clear who they feel those players are.  It'd be nice to think they could make both the level-max and non level-max players happy, but there's never enough development time to go around.  We can only hope December is Happy Santa time for the other end of the game. Tue Nov 13 2012 1:31PM Report
dimnikar writes: The way they switched their rhetoric about endgame pretty much sums up the awful hype machine some of us recognized in the months leading up to release. Wed Nov 14 2012 2:42PM Report
Arcondo87 writes: YAY for ppl who didnt get on the hype train to buy this game! :p Wed Nov 14 2012 4:29PM Report
Meleagar writes: Well, for 3 months GW2 lived up to the hype - lived up to their manifesto, IMO.  I definitely got my money's worth, and it's not like I'm going to stop playing altogether since there is no sub fee.  It's still a beautiful game, even though a lot of the shine has been taken off because of this. Thu Nov 15 2012 6:48AM Report
Sleepyfish writes: It shure is not the start of pvpers leaving the game and sure wont be the end. Fixing PvP from the broken boring crap it is now should have been their priority. People were not playing GW2 so they could play just another WOW clone. the BEST thing we can do is bail on on this sinking ship before we drown like those WAR players did, screw that I refuse to suffer throught it. Thu Nov 15 2012 9:52PM Report
Sleepyfish writes: LOL Arcondo I did buy the game but hell no sub fee, I gave it a shot and even defended it, I give anything a shot that doesnt totally crap up the place in beta, but the game was BETTER in beta than it was on release, they broke things out the starting gate and they refuse to make any new pvp maps or games, same 3 crappy maps over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Lack interesting specs, variation of combat is a huge problem. It looks simplistic, it IS simplistic. Thu Nov 15 2012 9:55PM Report
iamrta writes: I don't want to do dungeons and fractels or whatever and especially with people who judge and gripe about my playstyle. I am looking for an open, persistant world with ever changing challenges. This is what I thought GW2 was goig to be like. I have no desire to sit in chat typing LFG AC CM BLAH BLAH to meet up at some portal to a totally out of context world...I hate that so much. Does this mean I won't ever see this high level gear just by playing my story and playing the world map? Why can't they just add to the map? Stuff like these events are confusing as junk. Adding all these zones, portals and crap are totally taking me out of my character. Everyone treats this game like a damn job or something. Chat is full of players complaining about the game like they are tied to the chair, forced to get gear, but don't seem to be having a BIT of fun with the story or exploring. I should just go back to FPS games I suppose since I'm a simple minion that just wants to have FUN playing a game.  Fri Nov 16 2012 12:23AM Report
Bookah writes:

I dont see why this is a big deal when the only place it could be used in an "OP" nature is WVW which is a zergfset anyway.

for batttlegrounds everyone will still have access to the same gear as everyone ellse.


Fri Nov 16 2012 1:26AM Report
Loke666 writes:

I think you are partly right, but exoctic gear is really easy and fast to get. Something a little harder is not really a bad thing and it still seems pretty far from Wows raid tiers.

I might be wrong though, but I will wait a few weeks before doing that call. What is particularly interesting is if they will allow you to craft ascended gear or not once they add it fully, if so there will be little problems. If you need to grind dungeon tokens for it on the other hand that is not good.

Same thing if they sell it for karma, now you get 4500 karma for each daily beside what you get for events, dungeons and so on.

But gear of a certain rarity availible only through dungeons is indeed a misstakeand a sign of ANET folding for the hardcore crowd. I am not convinced that is how it will be though and I still think we should give them the benefit of a doubt, we heard a lot of crap and people assuming the worst.

Gear taking 5 times the time to get a piece as exo would not really be that bad, that means it would take me 5 hours instead of 1 for each piece, hardly close to what you spend in Wow to get your max tiered gear. Close to legendary on the other hand would be bad.

Fri Nov 16 2012 4:30AM Report
itsneo writes:

Hey Guys, 

Firstly I'd like to say that I too have spent allot of time in world, and while I have not been powering my way throught he content as I have done in the past mmo's, I mean no sub fee, why would I?  I have leveled a few alts slowly, had fun exploring the world, and looking under every rock and tree, in the depths of the oceans caves, and anywhere I could climb, jump, crawl, walk , run and or otherwise explore the beautiful world.   BUT....

I cant help but wonder, if perhaps the wording of the leaked posts, or posts in general could have made all the difference in your opinion Meleagar.   I mean, what if instead of using the pheases "end game"  and  "hardcore"  they had used "extended game" and or "highest leveled" players.    Would this have made any difference in your opinion of whats to be the future of GW2?   

My point here is, at some point we will all have a level 80 character, we will have our exotics, and sure, we can always head back to starter areas and help out a mate or head into WvW and play out our days casually and fun, OUR WAY.     BUT....

We will have more content made available to us as time goes on and patches, events, new mechanics are released to us.  And the whole character progression, like it or not, even casual players like to feel they are achieving something in their day to day game play, even if it is just to have fun.   We all like to progress in one fasion or another.  

I do not disagree, it DOES sound as if there is some catering to the Elitists if you will, but, meh, they play too.   We can not really put judgement down of the devs, and or the powers above them for making on the fly decisions to add content that caters to that one segment of the customer populations, after all, nearly the entire game caters to the rest of us.   

Inclosing, these are small ADDITIONS, not changes to the game, they do not CHANGE the game in any way, except to add content, progression, and something for those that are "higher leveled" (note i did not use hardcore) than the rest of us.   And at some point, you might just enjoy the additions once you too have see all the world has to offer, completed every accomplisment, or achievment.  Words change context, adding content does not change the entire game.  


End Game

Mon Nov 19 2012 5:44AM Report
Meleagar writes: Loke666 - Exotic is not easy to get for many if not most players.  The point isn't that there is new gear that is hard to get; the point is that the new gear introduces vertical stat progression beyond what ANET promised would be the top tier, and if it continues - which they have said it will - those players are now on a downward spiral of falling farther and farther behind. Mon Nov 19 2012 6:49AM Report
Meleagar writes:

There's a difference between "progression" and "achievment".  Cosmetics were supposed to mark "achievement", and progression past exotic stats was supposed to be horizontal.

And yes, all the devs that put their name in the media promising one thing and then silently sat back and said nothing while this was being developed probably before launch have some culpability in this.<span com_body"="">

Mon Nov 19 2012 6:57AM Report
grindwars2 writes:

Anyone taking the blame for being lied to or saying "they got their money's worth" while this was clearly planned all along. You got baited and switched and should request a refund. Don't be a sucker!





“This is just the beginning. In November, we’re only adding the first level of Infusions and Ascended Rings and Back slots, so that leaves us a lot of room to build upon these levels of Item progression in future content. As we release more new end game content in the future, you’ll see more Infusions and Ascended item types being added to the game. Eventually, you’ll be able to kit yourself out with a full set of Ascended gear and high end Infusions to help give you the edge in end game content.”

- Lindsey Murdock, Game Designer

3 Months Earlier


“Here’s what we believe: If someone wants to play for a thousand hours to get an item that is so rare that other players can’t realistically acquire it, that rare item should be differentiated by its visual appearance and rarity alone, not by being more powerful than everything else in the game. Otherwise, your MMO becomes all about grinding to get the best gear. We don’t make grindy games — we leave the grind to other MMOs.”

-Mike Obrien, President of Arenanet

Mon Nov 19 2012 8:02AM Report
aspekx writes:

while i do accept that players will play in a way they most enjoy:

I have always found hardcore players to be a plague of locusts.

Tue Nov 20 2012 6:27AM Report writes:
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