Returning to GW2 – Oh Dungeons Where Art Thou?
In my ongoing theme, created and catering to the new and returning Guild Wars 2 player, I wanted to take a stark detour and plow the depths of Guild Wars 2’s dungeons. While WvW has largely been considered the shunned, proverbial red headed stepchild of Guild Wars 2, dungeons would be like that stepchild’s creepy basement dwelling uncle who people only see on holidays. You may ask yourself why they should even care about dungeons now that Fractals and Meta Events in Heart of Thorns have arrived, but dungeons are still a big part of what Guild Wars 2 is, and there are plenty of reasons to see this particular creepy uncle once in a while.
Why did ArenaNet Forsake Dungeons?
To start, we have to ask, why did ArenaNet effectively kill dungeons to begin with, and why haven’t they added any new ones? Dungeons were an amalgamation of everything GW2 was trying to promote at the launch of the game. It gave you great rewards, it drove the economy and it got a lot of players up to speed. Most dungeons had multiple paths, and even delved into the Story that was so important to Anet at the start of the game. Where did it all go wrong? Essentially, the beginning of the end happened around Heart of Thorns, and the build up to it. Fractals was the new kid on the scene and with so many different dungeons and paths, and no real vertical progression in difficulty, it feels as though ArenaNet decided the easiest thing to do would be to kill the incentives to run it, in favor of a different, more versatile system.
What we were left with is gear based fractals system, that requires you far gear, and resistance infusions so you’re able to compete at the higher levels. This was all well and good, yet, players still flocked to dungeons, even if the rewards were nominal in comparison to what they used to be, simply because they were easier to run. As someone who started the game dungeon diving, I was surprised but not particularly enamored to see that many of the dungeons have continued to be “balanced” making them tougher in some ways, easier in others, and the rewards shifted.
Fundamentally, ArenaNet succeeds with dungeons in ways that their other group content doesn’t. Accessibility, and that, dear player, is why dungeons still hold a lot of sway in my book when it comes to new and returning players. They breed cooperation, battle strategy, and the ability to just jump in and have fun without worrying if you’re playing the right build, or have the right gear. Sure, the early levels of Fractals are the same way, but there will come a time, as you progress into the wee top echelon of fractals where people will require you do have the right gear, and you do know what you’re doing, and you do have a preferred build.
Sometimes, casual play is just that, casual, and modes like high end fractals and raids just aren’t going to cut it for the new and returning players who may still want to take things slow and enjoy their gameplay at their own pace. It also happens that there are a multitude of achievements that players can earn that will reward players achievement points that will unlock account bonuses, skins, titles, laurels and more that are useful for new and old players alike. Achievement points aren’t the only reason to run dungeons. It’s an easy way to farm tokens, gold and gear. When you complete a dungeon, you can be awarded anywhere from 35 silver, to more than a gold piece, and a bunch of tokens that can be used to buy gear, or necessary components for crafting some legendary weapons.
In fact, for new players, it is far easier to farm a full set of exotic gear by finding the dungeons that is associated with the gear stats you want, and farming that for a few days. Simply put, a full, exotic set would also earn you plenty of gold and gear drops rather than spending that money on buying gear from an Auction House, or using your materials to craft it. Does that in any way arouse you enough to run a few dungeons? I can only hope so, even if your arousal by dungeon running is only mildly as off putting as me asking about it. New players, old players, take some time out of your busy Meta running, and Boss Farming and spend an evening in a dank murky dungeon, it may just be the kind of fun you didn’t know you were missing.