Some of it is heading in a direction I like. We're off to a good start with "What Makes GW2 Unique and Successful", and "The Living World Game". Allowing Colin a pass on "unique", I think he sums that aspect of the game up pretty well. The things he mentions are high on my own list of reasons why I've been playing his game for the last five months:
"Through the dynamic event system, every time you log in, you can experience and share something different in the world with other players".
"Open world online games are always strongest when players are encouraged and rewarded to interact as a community".
My problem comes in what he proposes to do to enhance and expand on this in the months to come. This bit's fine:
"we also need to build on and strengthen our existing open world and its persistent content".
Nice intention. Problem comes with how he proposes to get there:
"One of our focuses is expanding and leveraging our achievement system".
Whoa! Hold on a second...
For my money that I'm not paying the whole Achievement system could just go away. About the only good thing I have to say about it is at least it's unobtrusive and easily ignored. But not for much longer, if Colin has his way:
"We’ll add tokens for your achievements that you can turn in to select from a list of rewards"
Nevertheless, I'm not strongly against this mechanism. I'm not incapable of enjoying an MMO in which I do certain things only in the expectation of the reward I get for doing them. It's clumsy, inorganic and artificial, but hey, stuff! What I am quite strongly against is having this mechanism bolted onto an MMO that I feel is trundling on perfectly well without it. The idea of exploring and doing events because it's fun in and of itself will struggle to compete. GW2 already suffers from a surfeit of box-ticking and this can only make it worse.
|Whatever happened to natural curiosity?|
It does not need to be made more coercive, directed or structured. Any proposed change to an MMO that uses the phrase "drive players to different areas of the world" should have been shot down in the discussion phase. Imagine the mindset that allows a phrase as toxic as that to appear not just in a design document but in a Press Release!
Let me make it clear. As a "player" the only place you will "drive" me is to a game made by someone who doesn't think of players as cattle.
Moving on, all the stuff about Guilds is fine and dandy but again it's the wrong emphasis for this MMO. Encouraging guilds to be the be-all and end-all of community goes directly against the open and inclusive nature of GW2 that the opening paragraphs were puffing up as the game's Unique Selling Point. By all means give guilds more bells and whistles and little tassels down the back, but "content designed specifically for the guild to accomplish" by definition takes people out of the open world. Stick with "creation of new content by a guild/s everyone in the world can experience" and we're back on track.
|Buggiest MMO ever and I played Vanguard!|
There's yet more shopping in prospect, of course:
"We’ll introduce a system of prestige and advancement specifically designed for WvW".
It seems no aspect of the game is to be spared. On the other hand:
"we’ll add a new motivation to the WvW domain that goes beyond the overall weekly score to give more short term reasons to be winning in WvW".
That does sound intriguing. Just so long as the motivation isn't yet another thing to buy.
|Come on Tequaatl, jazz it up a bit, can't you?|
"Identifying existing parts of the game that can be improved and made more fun/exciting, and investing the time to ensure everything we’ve built really shines as we move forward."
That really nails it, I'd say. Just do that, then you can get started on world peace.
Anyway, that's the menu. Some of it looks quite tasty, some of it could be hard to digest. I don't think any of it is outright poisonous but I guess we won't know until we've swallowed it and by then it'll be too late.