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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

After GW2: What Next For The Non-Vertical MMOG Market?

Posted by Meleagar Tuesday November 27 2012 at 12:49PM
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After the AMA on Reddit yesterday, many players realize that GW2 is not going to be the game they had thought it was going to be. I've already aired my views on the matter of ANET, their manifesto and what happened. It's time to move on.

One of the good things that came from this whole fiasco is that many of us now have a much better understanding of what we want - and do not want - in a game, beyond the terms "casual" and "hardcore". It turns out that there are much more quantifiable and objective game design commodities that divide the potential customer base than simply "how much time you play".

IMO, "how much time you play" isn't really a meaningful or significant issue post-GW2.  There are a few game-design issues that more realistically and functionally define the divide in the desires of gamers and potential gamers.

1. Stat-progression vs Stat-capped end game

2. Gear-gated content vs non-gated content

3. Grinding vs non-grinding

4. Vertical progression vs horizontal content

After reading the 11,000 post thread in the GW2 official forums, it is my view that a financially feasable section of the market (myself included) wants an online, persistent, massively inhabited fantasy world experience that has permanently capped stats, no gear-gated content, and no grinding. We want endless horizontal content, not endless vertical progression.

In future posts I'm going to tackle those issues and more, define them meaningfully and explore how they might be implemented in future games.  I'm also going to take a look at some of the things that GW2 got right which should, IMO, be carried forward to new games intended to appeal to what I call the "hon-vertical MMOG market", or the NV-MMOG


apeth writes:

I had a lot of similar thoughts about GW2, but came to a different conclusion.

I have been ready for a MMO that doesn't have flagging for raids, gear constraints for the content, or things like that. 

But when I started playing GW2, I got a couple lvl 80s, got them geared, and felt like I was done. I got some dungeon gear, 2 karma sets, a magic-find set and ...   

The "horizontal" progression felt wrong. I already have all the dungeon gear I would ever want. I'm only running them cuz my friends asked me to. I don't fancy a legendary.

The way GW2 is progressing seems like a great compromise for me. There's some stuff to do when I log in. I can see that the stats won't actually affect my gameplay, but at least there's something to reward me for playing, a new set of levels (with the new fractal dungeons).  

The game *is* essentially a NV-mmog, but with a very tiny bit of verticality. This way no one is underpowered, but we have some reason to leave town, which previously was missing.

Wed Nov 28 2012 4:22PM Report
Meleagar writes:

Non-vertical is not the same as vertical.

IMO, for many players, it doesn't matter how much of a never-ending vertical grade there is, the existence of one at all ruins their ability to enjoy the game.

This doesn't apply to everyone, but many of us are simply tired of the entire vertical progression system.

Thu Nov 29 2012 10:32AM Report
Kuldebar writes:

What Next For The Non-Vertical MMOG Market?

It's way early yet, but Mark Jacobs is speaking the language of horizontally scaled gaming in a big and clear way when he talks about Camelot Unchained (working title).

Tue Feb 12 2013 7:37PM Report writes:
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