Friday, 5 July 2013

Go West. Or East, I'm Not Fussy. Just Let's Go Somewhere!: GW2

I was trying to hold back from commenting on ArenaNet's recent PR splurge. As I said a few days ago I'm almost beyond caring. But only almost.

I'll keep this short.

  • A drip-feed of content over ten months may well amount to "an entire region’s worth of content" but that does not mean you gave us a region. Scattered instances do not equate to new explorable maps. Correct me if I'm wrong but what we've actually had is one small island. That hardly anyone will visit unless you bribe them.

  • Achievements, dailies, puzzles and the kind of events normally associated with holidays are not comparable to the content you'd get in an expansion. Nor are temporary instances. No matter how "challenging" you make them.

  • A never-ending stream of short-run, one-off events isn't inherently compelling; it's just as likely to be enervating. In other MMOs I've played that have a large number of these kinds of events (I'm looking at you, EQ2) Event Fatigue is the single most common reason I've heard given by friends and guild-mates announcing they were "taking a break". By no means all of them ever came back.

Because five is not enough races, that's why!

  • Expansions for MMOs aren't some kind of unpleasant punishment gamers would prefer to be spared. Provided they're well-done they are huge treats, grabbed and consumed with glee. And even if they aren't that well-done, frankly. 

  • Releasing content continually on a two-to-three week schedule is not a new paradigm for MMOs; it's the old one resurrected. This is what Everquest did all the time I played it as my main MMO from 1999 to 2004. And they did that in addition to releasing annual expansions so substantive they were pretty much bolting a new MMO onto the end of the one they already had. Okay, going to six-monthly expansions might have been pushing it...

  • In short, I'd trade the entire Living Story for one good expansion a year, but if we really aren't allowed that then at least put the same things into the Living Story that would be the major selling points of an expansion if we were getting one. That means new races, new classes and substantial new explorable landmasses. At a bare minimum.
Thanks. I'm done.

9 comments:

  1. New armor and town/racial clothes skins would be great, too. I mean, they've been so stingy with those it's baffling.

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  2. Quite frankly, I'm shocked they're not doing an expansion. People will be willing to pay for it I feel.

    Of course, we can't go and make these assumptions. I wouldn't go ahead and conclusively say that the LS and expansions are mutually exclusive. Just like, Living Story stuff building up to it and boom, expansion makes a lot of sense to me.

    But aaah well, whatever happens, happens.

    -Ursan

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    1. How do expansions work btw? Does that mean people with the new stuff can go into other zones where as those without cannot, or do those who don't get the expansion just have to stop playing entirely?

      Obviously I don't pay for any of my games huh. :P

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  3. @Pai & Ursan - they seem to be satisfied with the money they're making, or so they keep assuring anyone that asks. Apparently they have 300 people working on GW2 too. From the outside it would seem there must be ways to make a lot more money, both through a much better cash-shop offer and through paid expansions, be that full expansions or smaller content packs like TSW do.

    Personally, I'd far rather pay for larger, more coherent chunks of content than get the mish-mash we're getting for free. I actually *like* buying expansions - it feels almost like buying a new game. I'm not at all sure I want continual live content even if it's good, solid entertaining stuff. The whole analogy they're using with wathcing television is really off-putting. I haven't watched TV in nearly 15 years - playing MMOs is what I do instead!

    I am fascinated to see how this counter-intuitive business model works out over the next year or three, though.

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    1. Totally agree. These days I only watch TV shows which are completed, since I can go through them at my own pace. Same logic, you know?

      But again, we have no idea what their internal development is like, and from all accounts, the Living Story teams are small relative to their entire studio. We shouldn't assume that just because we're getting small chunks of content, we won't be getting a large chunk later.

      But I mean, that's Anet for you. Never assume anything with Anet.

      -Ursan

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  4. Totally agree, Bhagpuss. I loved my first few months with GW2, but I'm dying for an expansion's worth of content to dig into. The various events have ranged from great to meh, but they really don't substitute. I'd happy give them more money. Instead, the current course is making me look at new games.

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  5. I agree with the event fatigue point you made especially, for me it was Rift though, they went through a period with a new event each month (with a new currency to grind!).

    I like the concept of the Living Story but the pace is too fast, like their trying to be the first MMO to actually beat the "content locusts" or something.

    Locked zones or inaccessible gaps on a map are a big thing for me, I want them to start revealing more of Tyria so we get back to exploring new territory.

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  6. WORD.

    To everything you wrote there.

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  7. In response to your title, does the direction "up" count? Seems that's the way we're headed with the four wind thingies which should lead to a little bit more of map-unluckiness. :P

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