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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 10:05AM
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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.