World Vs Words: Guild Wars 2 Outlines Eventful 2013

By Nathan Grayson on January 16th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

Guild Wars 2 has been around for four whole months now, and – in gaming industry time – that means it’s become A Man. So it’s time to grow up or go home, and ArenaNet has no intention of doing the latter. Last year was about experimentation – nervously fumbling around in the dark, fondling at things it couldn’t quite fully grasp – but now it’s older and wiser. Multiple events have come and gone, but more are on the way. They’ll just be bigger and better, apparently, as will daily achievements and other rewards, World vs World PvP, various progression paths, and heaps more. Don’t believe me? Well then, perhaps having a different man tell you the exact same things will do the trick. He’s trapped inside a tiny, HTML-powered rectangle after the break.

Game director Colin Johanson briefly escaped from the rectangle to elaborate on ArenaNet’s 2013 plans in a massive blog post. Events, he explained, will be both more larger and more numerous – with smaller persistent events complementing larger spectacles akin to last year’s Halloween, Lost Shores, and Wintersday events. The goal, as he put it, is to create an “ever-evolving open world” that feels like it’s actually alive.

Rewards and progression, meanwhile, is another big area of focus, but not in the traditional level/gear treadmill sense. Instead, special long-term, reward-unlocking achievement paths and variable daily quests will take center stage. Johanson explained:

“As we look at developing new types of rewards further into 2013, we want to develop systems that are uniquely Guild Wars 2. Our reward systems need to be exciting, and include things you want to earn over time, but we don’t want to force our players on endless gear treadmills for new tiers of gear we add every 6 months. You won’t see another tier between Ascended and Legendary in 2013 for example. Our goal will be to use our existing reward systems and build new ones that are fun and exciting that step away from the stale gear grind reward systems you see elsewhere.”

Last but not least (and kind of not even last) is World vs World PvP, which will see two major changes: 1) The option for paid server transfers and guesting, so people have multiple options that allow them to play with whomever they want, and 2) the elimination of culling, which sees players render incorrectly at certain ranges, hamstringing strategic options by a wide margin.

Lastly (for real this time), smaller tweaks and changes will include leaderboards, redesigned encounters for many bosses, a better new player experience, better security, and an improved looking for group tool.

So yes, that’s quite a few things – though none of it’s particularly ground-breaking. I’m interested to see how alternative late-game progression methods work out, though. Guild Wars 2′s greatest strength, after all, was in changing up fundamental MMO leveling/questing dynamics just enough that they felt fast and fresh again. Here’s hoping for a repeat performance this year.

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54 Comments »

  1. frightlever says:

    Haven’t been on since briefly checking out the Wintersday events. I wonder are they getting most of their revenue from new game sales or the in-game store at this stage.

    • Wreckdum says:

      Has to be item store. Every time I log in on a holiday I spend at least 30 dollars. Halloween I spent over 50. And I would probably guess most people who would ever play it already have it.

      • emilyaustin8 says:

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  2. Chalky says:

    Really looking forward to this stuff – the achievement reward currency in particular looks like it’ll add some nice additional progression. Better WvW rewards would be great too.

  3. Squirrelfanatic says:

    Some of the stuff outlined in that post is really interesting, especially guild activities and new rewards for and expansions to WvW.

    The last point is especially nice to see as development and organisation of the Gunnar’s Hold community (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?6603-Gunnar-s-Hold-Community) project is coming along nicely – WvW now is one of my favourite activities in the game.

    • Mungrul says:

      I’m on Ring of Fire, so this week I don’t like you, you big green bullies :(

      • Squirrelfanatic says:

        Hey there Ring of Fire Invader! Come closer and enjoy the arrow cart… arrows with us. Both servers are getting great fights out of each other I guess, so thanks for that. :)

  4. Blackcompany says:

    This game would excite me more if devs focused less on making it more like every other mmo out there. Use your dynamic event system to offer new event chains & more consequences to those chains. Offer more new rewards for exploration. Build the controller support a good pirtion of your audience wants.

    Enough about “gear tiers” already. If we wanted WoW we would just go play WoW.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Honestly, I can’t really see what more they can offer to reward exploration. You literally get a reward every 20 meters.

      - XP for discovering a zone
      - XP for discovering a point of interest
      - XP for finding a waypoint
      - XP for harvesting rocks, trees, grass
      - “Dynamic quests” all around
      - Vista points
      - Skill challenges
      - Hidden chests
      - Larger reward for discovering most of the above in a zone

      It’s already a festival of exploration rewards.

      And I’m only talking about “gameplay” rewards. Because most of the time, you will stumble upon an interesting place, or a great scenery, even in a place which looked like nothing.

    • scottb says:

      I’m not sure how you interpreted this news as ‘gear tiers.’ They admitted the ascended gear was essentially against what they started with and have said a few times (explicitly in this post) that there won’t be another gear tier in 2013. Who knows what that means post-2013, but let’s worry about that when we get there.

      In fact, the post pretty clearly says they are learning from the first 3 events how to make dynamic events more interesting. They are doing a pretty good job of introducing baby steps to changing what we expect from an MMO. If you can’t see the differences between GW2 and WoW at this point, you are missing something.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Its more that every updare seems most concerned with making this more like every other mmo & less interested in the facets unique to gw2. Hopefully they really are changing this. I do hope so.

  5. goettel says:

    Looks like ANet is very aware that world PvE could be a lot more attractive to a certain kind of player. Right now, there’s plenty of ‘karma trains’ hunting dynamic events, which is great fun, but I feel that a large number of people whose GW2 session consists of “LFG/LFM” in Lion’s Arch, followed by a fractal, and a logout, could be coaxed out of this WoW-ish habit by being rewarded for exploring.

    Me I’m having a blast just alting it, almost 500 hours in and the combat is still as fresh as it was in august.

    • CletusVanDamme says:

      It was the opposite for me. The combat turned me off immediately and after leveling a couple of characters into the mid 30′s I was bored senseless, despite the amazing world. Just couldn’t face another mind numbing fight.

      • Bios Element says:

        I’m sorry, but there’s no way you can’t be doing anything more then trolling.

    • scottb says:

      I think everyone needs to try WvW on a decently organized server for a week or two. The combat reaches a whole new level when you are playing against that many people (and sometimes just 1 or 2 people). I feel the combat can really stretch its legs when you are forced to adapt on the fly. Controlling enemy movement is just as important as putting out DPS or heals, and that’s something most other MMOs have a lot of trouble with.

      All hail Lord Flame Ram! Maguuuuuuuma!

  6. Adekan says:

    Did all of the story content they had to offer, and explored all areas within ~100 hours of play or so. Didn’t see much reason to continue playing. Everything seems to either revolve around gathering gold for a cosmetic upgrade, or gathering karma for a cosmetic upgrade. I was happy with how my character looked after spending 20G. Perhaps I’m just not that into MMOs anymore.

    • scottb says:

      When you play it like a standard MMO, your experience can be common (and boring). I found WvW keeps things fresh and really fun. I know it’s weird for an MMO, but I log on just to have fun, and don’t care about what I’m working towards.

      I actually have fun trying to figure out ways to make money on the TP, and don’t feel like I have to make money to get the right stuff to stay competitive. So I spend maybe 20 minutes a day on TP stuff, then play WvW for a few hours and have a blast.

      • aliksy says:

        Sadly, many people seem incapable of playing the game for fun. They need something to “work towards”.

        • Brun says:

          Ever consider that many people may derive enjoyment from working toward a goal?

          The technology, mechanics, and systems of modern MMOs are limited enough that playing “just for fun” isn’t enough to keep me occupied for more than a few tens of hours, and I imagine that’s the case for many others as well. Progression – that is, having a goal to work toward – is not a bad thing, it’s an essential part of RPGs and MMOs. What constitutes good vs. bad implementation of the progression model is obviously a lively debate within the genre.

          • aliksy says:

            “tens of hours” isn’t enough?

            I mean, I like having things to do. Goals to reach. I was having a lot of fun exploring GW2′s areas, doing events, playing some WvW. I didn’t feel compelled to stick only to high level areas for the “best loot”, so maybe that’s why I was having more fun. Some people were just farming the same 3 events over and over in Orr. I don’t know why they would, since that seems like it’s missing the point of the game.

            It wouldn’t be so bad if the “bigger numbers” stuff they added wasn’t toxic for the rest of the game. Someone who can play twice as long as me doesn’t need numerical advantages on their gear on top of all the practice they’re picking up.

          • Brun says:

            Imagine a game with no progression. No “bigger numbers.” Everyone is exactly the same, all the time. The outcome of combat between players is determined solely by their skill level.

            Sounds great on paper, right? In practice, though, such a system creates a remarkably stagnant game. After a few hours one encounter starts to feel indistinguishable from the next, which means people will quickly burn out, and as a result your game either has a very short life or has a very high rate of player turnover (both are bad for game developers).

            Now throw progression into the mix. Hey I just got a new item! Man, look at how hard I hit now, the pace of combat has really gone up! Cool, I got a new ability too, now my tactics will change up to be more effective! Progression is a way of keeping an inherently repetitive game fresh, or at least fresher than it would be otherwise. This is why you see it in FPS multiplayer as well – with a relatively limited set of maps and weapons, the time until the player feels like he’s seen and done everything is short. Adding unlockables gives the player something to strive for and keeps the experience fresh for the player.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          There are many things I could be working towards. I could go for 100%ing stuff on my main, I could level my alts to max, etc. The problem is that it just doesn’t seem appealing to do so. I’ve reached the point where I’m starting to see through the mechanics, especially the events that are awkwardly eternally repeating, and it just feels like a grind now.

      • Trithne says:

        Ah, see, I find WvW to be boring and infuriating. Sit in queue. Get into WvW. Put on autorun and steer myself towards wherever the action is. Get jumped by an enemy zerg, die, have to make the run again. Avoid the zerg, run into our zerg, out zerg runs at a keep, die in the endless barrage of siege attacks. Respawn, avoid joining the zergs, meet up in a smaller group that just runs around fighting npcs to flip supply camps and flees when the enemy players come to flip it back.

        • scottb says:

          WvW is boring if you stick with that zerg mentality. It’s a lot more fun if you make a 5-man group and start taking supply camps, taking out yaks, and maybe even ninja-capping a tower. There are plenty of other people on the map with no real goal other than following the dorrito, so a simple “x up in chat if you need a group” usually fills up a party.

          Once you get the hang of it, the meta game becomes a lot of fun. Leading isn’t very hard, just suggest objectives for people to hit, and they’ll go there. Knowing you really contributed to taking a keep is enough of a reward to keep WvW fun for me, personally.

    • PFlute says:

      You played for 100+ hours and presumably enjoyed it, right? That’s something that I liked about GW2; that I paid $60 for a game, played it for 120 hours and had loads of fun the whole way through, and now I’m done.

      If anything the largely accepted concept that one should keep playing an MMORPG for months and months on end as some barometer of quality seems ridiculous to me.

      • Adekan says:

        You misunderstand me, I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy it; quite the opposite, I did. Nor do I feel like it was a bad use of my $60. Other MMOs in the past have simply trained me to expect to continue playing, and indeed, even Arenanet themselves expect you to. I was even in quite a decent guild that always had events and dungeons going. I just didn’t find any content interesting enough to keep me playing.

        As Trithne said, WvW is not very interesting ( to me, and apparently others ). Run to the blue diamond on the map, follow 125+ people around hoping to actually see an enemy before he is dead. Repeat for hours for no tangible reward, or entertainment value. If you should attempt to find smaller fights, all you will find is death because the other side is doing the exact same thing as your 125+ person gang.

        The small group “arena” PvP was a bastardized version of WoW’s battlegrounds, without anything that made them good. Your skills, levels, gear, pets and anything else don’t carry over from the “real” world to the “arena” world, so it lends no sense of permanence or import.

        I guess my main complaint with the game is that I came in expecting Guild Wars 1 and got World of Warhammercraft instead.

        • scottb says:

          It might be a matter of play style, but WvW is soooo much more than mindless zerging. Instead of running a dungeon, take that 5 man into WvW and start capping camps. Get some other people following your group, take a tower. Get even more, take a keep.

          It’s basically raiding with enemies that actually think (some times) and the encounter is different every time.

  7. havaday says:

    I leveled 3 alts to full and all professions to max. GW2 was a lot of fun to play, but sadly I’ve stopped playing it halfway through the Winter event. For me, the reason is simple and puzzling, and in the form of a question:

    How in all that’s holy do you release a modern MMO without a dungeon finder, something that (IMO) saved WoW a ton of subscribers who otherwise would have cancelled back in the day?

    After logging in to Lion’s Arch and LFG(ing?) the specific Fractal levels/dungeons I wanted, and being stuck there while assembling a group, if you were even able to assemble a group… well, that got old relatively quickly. The PvP finder works very well because they wanted to give players easy and fast access to that part of the game, so why would you (as a company) not make it a priority to give players easy and fast access to your endgame PvE? Guilds are great, but I think they overestimated how big/helpful to endgame they would be.

    So I stopped playing after logging in to not play a game–unless LFG in chat is an exiting new social media sensation I’m too old to “get.” I still think it’s a great game and am thankful for the fact I didn’t have to stop a subscription, yet it still boggles my mind, that lack of a dungeon finder.

    (Because it was cheap, I went back to WoW to look at the new Xpack there. I lasted for a handful of hours and cancelled again. One reason is that the Guild Wars 2 community is so much… more pleasant than WoW’s user base, in my experience. Another reason I’ll always appreciate the game, even if I don’t particularly want to play it anymore.)

    • Njordsk says:

      gw2lfg.com is your friend dude.

      Just put an LFG and keep playing.

    • scottb says:

      They did mention working on the LFG tool. It took WoW a really long time to get it working (I quit before they implemented it actually) so GW2 shouldn’t take as long, but it still isn’t their top priority right now.

      You hit the nail on the head with the community. I’ve found there’s a lot more mature, reasonable people in GW2 that you can, you know, have an actual conversation with.

  8. sidhellfire says:

    There are two main reasons why I am dissapointed with GW2.

    Firstly:
    Poor dungeoning – only few of them, all boring, with poor rewards and since launch there always been problems with playing them. I cannot believe how bugged it was at launch.

    Secondly:
    No actual _GUILD_ wars in GuildWars2. Face it. It was rather “server” wars with no pvp outside “arena zones”. There were no emotions there, because lack of raiding. No competition at all, except some rankings noone gives piss about. In other MMO’s you were fighting against other clans for spots, blood boiling and flowing. In GW2 there was plenty of resources for everyone nothing to compete for. Also, you could not construct own keep or anything like that. The only reason concept of guild existed is to have lot of active players (you do not have to give darn about them) just to generate “influence” income which you spend on boosts on the battlegrounds.

    And for god sake, technical limitations – AOE spells doing dmg upto 5 target at most is some kind of a joke. You could wander carelessy in pack just leeching points.

    • scottb says:

      The Guild in Guild Wars is actually a reference to the lore, not the actual game. It’s a lame excuse, but that is apparently how it is.

      And the aoe limit is not a technical limitation. Siege weapons have limits closer to 50. It’s more a design decision that probably came from WvW that showed no aoe cap being too powerful for defenders of a keep. Two people would be able to choke point endless numbers with little effort.

      • Brun says:

        WoW had (possibly still has?) the same limitation, the damage on AoE abilities is reduced substantially when they hit more than a certain number of targets, although the number is quite high (15+ I believe). It was mainly to cut down on specific classes being able to gather materials from mobs too efficiently.

        • Squirrelfanatic says:

          It is worth pointing out that heals and buffs are now also capped at 5 people to prevent over efficient “turtling”.

  9. Tasloi says:

    Overall great game. I still play quite regularly, mostly for WvW. I wouldn’t mind running a dungeon more often but like someone else already said, the lack of a dungeon finder often makes that quite a pain.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Not if you join the RPS guild. :) Check out the forums, there are lots of threads for people looking for groups, even if you are not in the guild.

  10. aliksy says:

    Stopped playing because of ascended gear grind nonsense. Was a fun game, but gear progression and gear gating can die in a fire.

  11. Shooop says:

    Unless there’s something to make combat something other than mind-numbingly boring typical MMO “press attack and wait until enemy dies” crap there’s no reason to bother.

    Fighting a “champion” enemy can be best done by picking a ranged weapon, setting auto-attack, and then walking away from your computer for 20 minutes.

    • Brun says:

      You can boil combat in *any* game down to “press buttons to make things die.” People always complain about how much they hate hotkey combat, and I feel sorry for those people since they obviously don’t have any games to play.

      • Shooop says:

        Somehow I knew this age-old pointless “argument’ was bound to happen. Should I even acknowledge your insipid pedantry with an actual response?

        • Brun says:

          Should I even acknowledge your insipid pedantry with an actual response?

          Not if you don’t have anything to say. If no game has combat that is engaging to your *clearly* superior intellect, you might consider finding a new hobby.

    • Frye2k11 says:

      That is simply not true. Which champion is that? Only dragons allow that if you are very very lucky. And only because you’d be part of a 20 man group.

      I found the combat in gw 2 refreshing. In fact, what sets it apart from the rest is the combat. There is more variation between gw 2 classes than most other MMO’s

      There is a lot wrong with gw 2 (the CULLING in WVWVWVWVW!!! argh!). But the combat is its strength.

      • Tasloi says:

        Agreed. The flow of combat, animations, etc are some of the best i’ve seen in an MMO.

      • Shooop says:

        The giant in Nagling and just about every other single “champion” there is save for the zombified priests because they just one-hit-kill everyone.

        There is not a single redeeming thing to be found in GW2′s combat. The dodging is so half-assed it’s a bad joke. You’re restricted to only two dodges per minute or so. So your only real defense is hoping you end up killing whatever you’re fighting before it kills you. Dark Souls this is not.

        It’s really a shame. The voice-acting, the art direction, and the writing are all top-notch. But when it comes time to actually play the game it’s like a second job.

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          Uh no. You’re full of shit.

          • FootlingSummers says:

            I have to admit I laughed at the suggestion of the voice acting and writing being better than the combat.

        • Squirrelfanatic says:

          The good thing about the dodging system is that stamina is not a stat set in stone but influenced by things like gear, traits, and level. My level 80 thief gets to dodge every 5 seconds or so because of great stamina regeneration. Why does a dynamic combat system have to mirror Dark Souls?

        • Bios Element says:

          Wait wait, You’re comparing a single player action game to a multiplayer MMO? LOL

  12. Enkinan says:

    Yes, please fix culling ASAP.

    I’m enjoying WWW quite a bit otherwise, with the occasional crafting or alting. Even after dropping at least the cost of the original game into the store I have more than gotten my money’s worth in the last 4 months.

  13. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I can’t watch the video since I’m at work, but does it mention inflation? I remember it being really bad, which surprised me since they hired an economist and all.

  14. Kamos says:

    Exploring the world in GW2 was really interesting. The endgame was a mess, though. The dungeons were either too difficult or too bugged. And the few easy, unbugged ones (that everyone farmed over and over and over and over again) got “fixed” into the default state of ridiculous / impossible to complete. I remember going into Crucible of Eternity (one of GW2′s dungeons) and going out the exit some three hours later in my underwear, my whole armor broken.

    As for WvW. It had the potential to be absolutely awesome, for those who like an open, persistent war. You run around defending resource camps, upgrading and repairing walls, sieging castles with trebuchets… Really, it is awesome. It is too bad that it all becomes pointless since servers have very different populations across the hours of the day. What this means is that all that effort you put into upgrading, defending, attacking, etc. is going to be wiped clean when the other servers’ aussies (that your server doesn’t have) simply undo everything your server (as a team) accomplished, unopposed.

    Players from servers with good player distribution across the hours of the day hilariously say that their “server is stronger”. Arena net doesn’t seem to think this is a problem, but I really don’t see myself playing GW2 in the future, as much potential as World vs. World may have.

    What irks me is that they want you to pay to move from a server to another. You know, when I selected my server, nowhere did it say that my team would suck for the sole reason that we don’t have enough players in the oceanic timezone. It is simply ridiculous.

    Also: other games have solved this problem already! It is called a matchmaker. Make teams from a pool of available players. Screw “server pride”. WvW could have been awesome, instead it is a game about who has a better server distribution of players across timezones. And now I’m sad.

  15. jrodman says:

    I played this for a while.

    Then I played through Bard’s Tale 3, which was ultimately both more engaging and rewarding.