Lo and behold we have entered 2019, and within the breadth of the new year resides a new chapter of Guild Wars 2, adorned with the promise of new adventures in Tyria. After 6 years of Dragons, Golems and Gods, much has changed in the evolving world ArenaNet has created, and yet, despite a very lively and passionate essence still thriving amidst the perpetual chaos, it’s not hard to see that Guild Wars 2 Is starting to show its age. Come along with me as I make a case for a blissful sunset on Guild Wars 2, with an eye towards a raging inferno that could be Guild Wars 3.
What Are We Even Doing?
In my previous articles, I’ve helped new players get back into Guild Wars 2 with articles explaining some of the mechanics of the game in a solemn attempt to preclude the dreaded MMO Return Burn that happens when players come back to a game and have no idea what is going on. Unfortunately for a lot of Guild Wars 2 players, this is common place. So much has changed from the initial launch, ranging from the way damage is dealt, to the way enemies are killed, and especially the way classes are built. Inventory management has been heaved out the window with reckless abandon as nearly every new update inundates players with stacks of “new” items that are often reskinned loot boxes that house different versions of the same items’ players have been earning all along.
Sure, items may seem like a minor annoyance to new players trying to find their place, but this cascades across the entirety of the community, and it’s symptomatic of a host of problems that Guild Wars 2 has. Simply put, the game that has been building for over half a decade has had so many updates, changes, and additions, but they have been made in ways to show players that they could do them, without little thought on whether they should do them.
For example, long ago, the entire class system was changed from allowing bits and pieces of different trait lines to be utilized for a single overarching build, to a system that pigeon holes you into 3 specific trait lines. This was compounded when new specializations were created in lieu of introducing new classes. Those specializations would eventually lock a player into a sub class, taking the place of an entire trait line. While some arguments could be made that the streamlining of these classes and specializations was for ease of use and balance, from my estimation, the prevalent train of thought by many is that these classes have obscured the balance entirely, and every change to right the ship has done as much harm as it has good.
Could you imagine what ArenaNet could do if they didn’t have to continue trying to fix a mess of their own design and start fresh with a system that doesn’t try to wedge new subclasses into already established classes with fleshed out trait lines? As people continue to clamor for Dervishes and Monks from Guild Wars 1, with each new attempt at creating a specialization, they are forced to go back and rebalance the underlying profession, which many times doesn’t happen, and leads to severe imbalances. Wouldn’t it be great to log in to a world where itemization could be streamlined so players aren’t swarmed with globs and baubles and tokens that are thrown at you under the suspicion that they should somehow matter in some way? This future could happen in Guild Wars 3.
But Wait, There’s More
It is much more than just some of these confusing systems that ArenaNet has put in place, that, as current and continuing player, isn’t as hard to grasp if you have consistently stuck with the game, but it’s even the game itself that has begun to show its age. Despite using an old engine, running DX9, the game still looks pretty good, but to be honest, with several other iterations already available and with a very low likelihood that they’ll make changes of that magnitude, one such as I can only hope to see Guild Wars 3 enhanced with an updated DirectX API.
Dungeons and Stories have been largely forgotten. If you recall back when ArenaNet was developing Guild Wars 2, we heard a lot about the story aspects, how we would be taken through our own personal epic journey. Not too long after that, and up to now, we see a story unfolding of a commander, fallen gods and dragon allies, but I feel the personalization of the events have been largely left out of what was promised. It feels as though we’re playing through a story, not our story. Our characters may all look different, but so much of what we experience is shared. In Guild Wars 3, I’d prefer to see a similar story unfold without some undercurrent of every single player in the game forced into being a chosen commander.
With the expansion on the way, and the amazing job ArenaNet has done with their living world updates, I can’t help but feel like ArenaNet has pursued their promise of a growing, changing, dynamic world, even if they didn’t always hit the mark on every single update. Where will the next expansion take us? Will we see new mounts? Will we see old regions in a new light? There is still endless adventure out there to be had, and while my musings on some of my personal shortcomings may reveal a modicum of disenchantment, make no mistake, I wait with bated breath for what is next. Whether you have been playing since launch, or you have lost interested in entering the world of Tyria, speak out, is it time to see Guild Wars 2 wind down for Guild Wars 3, or is there still a lot of life left in this sleeping dragon?