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Guild Wars 2: The mold is broken and reformed
A New Era
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, or don't keep up with video games, you know about Guild Wars 2. It had its head start on August 25th, and has been a widely successful and smooth launch for sure. I am not going to really review the game. It would be unfair do to he biased nature I have for this game, due to it being the end all be all paradise for casual gamers who don't really care about being elite or better than other players, and is just straight up fun.
What I will be talking about is how different GW2 is in scope of creating community, business philosophy, and dealing with content locust. First lets talk about community.
Putting the I and U in Community
Guild wars 2 does it right. In the game world you want to work together with other people, but there is always the trade off of if I work with people I will get less for my time. So the incentive to do it is immediately gone. GW2 changes that immediately by getting rid of the tag system for mobs that we all know and love. If you attack something you get full XP, and a chance at loot if it drops. If me and my wife kill a mob, and the server determines that we both get magical loot, we will both get it, whether we are in a party or not. If 15 people help kill a mob, and the server decides we all get loot, we all get loot. It's genius, it takes all the competitiveness out of cooperative play. Makes you want to run with a group of people and help.
Resource nodes are handled completely different from other games I have played. When you and five other people find a resource node in GW2, you all get to get the max amount of resources from it. To clarify, the resource nodes only change for you when you interact with them. I stood in front of a copper node, watched 5 people harvest it over the corse of 5 minutes, and it didn't go away until I harvested it. This may have an issue on the value of commodities in the economy, that has yet to be seen, but for now it is awesome.
The idea is that it is better to go out and have fun with other people than try to figure out what is the fastest best way to level. Since it is in your best interest to play with others because there is no penalty at all, the fun factor goes through the roof. You don't resent others being around you and as a result the community flourishes.
Money comes freely when passion is put first.
GW2 is a buy to play game with an in game store. Content updates, new races, classes, PvP maps, along with cosmetics and character services are all handled though the in game store. It is nice because if your a casual player, you might not need a content update for months, and by that time, you can pick and choose what you want. If you only want PvP updates, or the new raids, there you have it. It is yet to be seen if the updates will be tiered where you have to buy and complete the previous tier before moving on to the next. If I had to guess, I am sure Arena Net already thought of this and decided to avoid this pitfall. The entire concept of the game is based around casual players, so anything that bars entry and creates elitism will more than likely not exist. This game is different in the scope of what is known about the genre. They broke the MMO mold with GW1 and they didn't dissapoint with GW2.
Don't look for the price of this game dropping like a rock as with other MMO titles. Rift is $14.99 after just over a year, and The Secret World's price is already dropping. Since Guild Wars 2 doesn't ask for a sub, the price will remain $59.99 for a while. Time will tell how they handle bringing in more income every month, but I think we can expect something different than the usual same old same old.
Insecticide for Content Locust
If you read my article on content locust, you have an idea on how I feel about them. (worthless scum) In guild wars 2 you are always at end game. Your skills are based off of your weapon, plus some utility skills that you get to choose. If you out level an area, it levels you down so the monsters around you are always a challenge. So where ever you go, the monsters are a threat, and give rewards. The dynamic events are always worth doing as a result. There is also the breaking of the trinity.
When you go into dungeons in GW2, you can take 5 elementalist, or 5 guardians, or any combination of anything can do the content if you adjust your strategy. So those who want to keep you from doing what they do have no reason. There is no barring entry to things, no real way to game the system, and the way the game is set up, there is no way for them to blow through all the content, because it is dynamic. I can't comment on the instances at level 80, because there are modes for the highest level of the game, but even then all the content is 5 man, so it will be hard to prevent those who want to see it from doing so.
Beyond that the entire structure for social mechanic penalizes those who try to prevent others from taking part in the story. It is an ingenious model. Those who say this game offers nothing new don't understand what is really threatening the genre. Arena Net did, and they answered with well thought out mechanics that prevent a small section of the community from affected the opinion of the major populace. Crafting doesn't penalize you for trying something new, if you have a maxed out armorsmith and decide you want to try cooking, you don't loose your points in armorsmithing because you switch.What that means for Locust is they can't min/max and criticize because you didn't pick the "best" craft for your class.
BUY IT NOW!!!!
This game changes the philosophy of the MMO business model and what it means to be accessible. Look for other games to follow suit, this is the new way to be successful. I will dive into more in depth analysis of different mechanics, but if you haven't already bought it, go get it, quit reading about how awesome it is and know for yourself. If you don't have the money, it's summer, go mow lawns, its worth it.