Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Puzzled: GW2

Jeromai at Why I Game has been running an excellent series of posts on the current GW2 Sky Pirates of Tyria event, of which this, on the insanely difficult new jumping puzzle, is but the most recent. I haven't had anything to say about the event at all so far for the very simple reason that I decided on the day it arrived I was going give it a miss. 

It's not that I'm averse to content that requires some thought and effort, even some persistence. I get the same sense of satisfaction at the end a difficult job well done (or at least done) as anyone else. This update, however, promised a combination of a whole lot of game elements I don't really like: an overtuned, instanced death-dungeon, a slew of jumping puzzles and rewards consisting mainly of pointless Achievements that remind me strongly of the tee-shirts they sell in seaside resorts, whose only reason for existence is to tell other people where you went on holiday last year. As if they cared.

That's fine. MMOs are a buffet not a set-course meal. It's okay to pile your plate with the things you like and leave the rest for someone else. But even a buffet needs to be set out with some forethought. You don't put a bowl of fried locusts next to the profiteroles, not unless you want some of your guests to leave in a hurry. Most especially you don't suggest your guests leave the profiteroles for later and tuck into the locusts because they're only going to be on the table for a short while and you hid the party favors in one of them, only you're not saying which one it was.

Vote with your feet


I am almost beyond the point of asking myself what ANet think they are doing with GW2. Every time it looks as though they're beginning to move in a coherent direction they veer wildly off-road and bump awkwardly across the countryside to someplace entirely different. Whether that's a function of having so many different teams (four full teams working just on Living Story, apparently) or the relentless push towards faster and faster content drops (three weeks too slow...must have two weeks...) I don't know and I'm not sure I really care any more. It's their game; their business.

The upshot is that I'm less and less willing to try and pick the bones out of press releases and interviews, picking up inconsistencies or contradictions. I don't have the willpower to try and second-guess their strategy or force a whole series of seemingly contradictory and unrelated changes of pace, direction and ethos into some kind of coherent plan. They do what they do and maybe it all makes sense to someone but not to me. That's how it's been for the best part of a year now and I'm ready to accept that's just how it is and how it's going to stay.

I'll sit this one out, thanks. Actually, why even sit?





I love GW2 but in the way you love a dear friend whose personality changes unpredictably when they drink. First you end up making excuses for them, then you end up avoiding them in certain situations. Eventually, if they don't get control of their behavior, you end up seeing less and less of them, until finally you lose touch altogether. I'm at the stage where, when GW2 asks me if I want to go and do something inappropriate I just say "thanks but I'm busy right now - you go. We'll catch up later".

I liked the Southsun episode. I really liked Dragon Bash. I can't pass a hologram projector without setting it off. The recent changes to the matchmaking system have strongly improved the whole WvW experience. There's a long list of positives and the world of Tyria remains a deeply satisfying, fascinating place to explore but any compulsion I ever had to try and experience everything it offers just because I'm being offered it has faded away. I'll cherry-pick the dishes I like and leave the rest for whichever of my fellow guests ANet thinks they're serving this week.

And the best part is that with bloggers like Jeromai and websites like Dulfy doing such a great job of capturing both the emotional and practical sides of the experience it almost feels like I did do this stuff after all.

10 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the post. I really got in the Dragon Bash spirt and got the meta achievement for the wings. Since there is no sub, I'm tending to play GW2 in between other subbed games..yet i still have 1000hrs in game since launch. Thanks for the tip to check out Jeromai at Why I Game for the jumping puzzle info.

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  2. Waiting for see you talk about the next living content.

    I smell Tengu... I really want them as playable race...

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    1. I really don't want to think about what Tengu smell like...

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    2. They smell like roses...

      Wait...

      That are sylvari, plant people smell like roses..

      Tengu smell like... chicken?

      Anyway, what Anet will give us for GW2 fist birthday? I hope be a new playable race and "four wings" directly point to Tengu.

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  3. I think that's the smart thing to do, just pick the stuff you will enjoy doing. I skipped the dungeon but decided to do the JP since that's the type of content I like, and sure enough I love it (not as much as I loved the clock tower though).

    No need for portals, just control. Once I had the achievements I spent the rest of the time in there too, just helping other people and trying to reach other spots. At least until I inexplicably got teleported out high above a shark-filled lake. Not sure what that's all about. :P

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  4. You know, I had a interesting philosophical discussion with a friend of mine. It boiled down to me pointing out that he was applying his standards inconsistently, and he countered by asking just how much value do you place in consistency for the sake of itself.

    It's a good question to ask. Does it really matter if Anet's efforts are scattered, as long as some of it's enjoyable and continues to entertain you?

    But yea I keep on getting my mind blown by their update schedule. Just as I'm winding down they decide to shoot me with this 2-week nonsense. What is this.

    -Ursan

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    1. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" has been my watchword since I first encountered the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote via Lou Reed back when in was in my teens. The key word in that sentence, however, is "foolish". Consistency is a virtue until it isn't. Whatever ANet are doing or think they are doing it seems to be working for them, so stuff consistency!

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    2. Coincidentally that is the exact quote my friend used =P.

      -Ursan

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  5. I'm finding GW2 properly knackering now. Just make it stop. I just wanted a week off or something. It's relentless.

    I'm not going to go back in there for 4 months as it's summer and I want to be outside anyway. When I get back in the Autumn I hope it's all calmed down a bit.

    I'm old, by the way. Does that show :)

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    Replies
    1. I'm starting to find it enervating too. The upside is I'm beginning to get my wish to see more of other MMOs.

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