It should be no surprise right now that I looooove a good rant from time to time but I don’t just like writing them, I like reading them as well. It’s not all rainbows and puppies in the land of Tyria at the moment with many voicing dissent about nearly all aspects of the game so there are a glut of rants out there to indulge on. Now we see a lot of QQ in every mmo but I’ve never really seen it this focused with a large population before, usually it is surrounding a singular aspect but this time the issue seems to be at the core of what Guild Wars 2 has become as well as a general malaise regarding the direction of the mmo genre. It is obviously not just the vocal minority this time.. well not entirely, as there seems to be many people supporting the same message across the blogs, reddit, game sites, and on the forums.
Kichwas recently had an interesting rant regarding the direction of how the story is progressing with these “living” story updates and he isn’t impressed.
I see all the signs of a focus on short term shinies and addictive repetition and no signs on larger plot development. They seem to have completely forgotten their own setting’s lore in favor of chasing context-less quick patches that have nothing to do with this setting.
I have to agree with his assessment of the quality of the tales told by the living story. Apart from this being a mmo about “horizontal” progression, a big part of the pitch was experiencing an ongoing and engaging story but it has been far from that. Check it out for my, and many other replies from different view points.
The Man himself, Ravious also had a rather demure rant recently about how the focus on achievements is beginning to guide players behaviour in game, not in a good way either.
In Guild Wars 2, achievements have replaced quests wholesale in these bi-weekly updates. Players now look to achievements as content guides and additional challenges. The separation of time and skill is no longer there as pure content guides (go watch this cut scene), reasonable play expectations (play a few games), and difficult challenges (don’t get hit by lasers, ever) are all crammed in to one place. In my opinion, this puts way more focus on unintended ways to play.
The focus on achievements guiding our play has been steadily increasing over the months to something I’m not exactly comfortable with anymore. It went from being entirely forgettable and optional to this obnoxious system enticing the masses to conform to one dominant playstyle.. and it isn’t a very nice playstyle either. Check-box ticking with very little thought about those around you and seems to me that instead of the feel of cooperation we used to have it is now a competition surrounding achievements. Playing as a team or a group comes second to completing these and when achievements don’t align with the mechanics you end up in a a system, and with gameplay that is not fun… not even close.
The best analogy I can think of regarding this decent into achievement induced madness is the whole Frog in water experiment. Drop them into hot water immediately and they remove themselves from harm, however slowly heat the water up and the frog boils to death none the wiser.
It all started innocently enough with the addition of the dailies, monthlies and Ascended gear. Then achievement guided new events and Guild missions came a bit after, and finally a game completely guided by checklists. It was such a gradual thing that it seemed like a natural progression but before you notice your stifled by something that is literally killing the game for you. I miss the game Guild Wars 2 used to be were people’s interests guided their play rather than a shiny new menu, when the only thing to aim for was exotic gear and it could be gained in a variety of ways, when you picked and chose the achievements that were interesting to you rather than based on some holy doctrine.
Which brings me to the recent post by Bhagpuss.
This water feels so warm, so comfortable. Lie back, relax, enjoy it.
hmmm.. seems rather familiar to that frog and you’re damn right the best thing to do is rip that plaster off… or at least in this case, jump the f out and turn off the heat. Address the cause of the infection and not the symptoms.
Are dailies really necessary? I believe dailies can be a positive influence and guide for players based around progression or just what to do but there are extremes to that and these extremes aren’t very well known until it’s too late. There is a defined line between being just a guide or a complete focus, it might be hard to ascertain at first but you will know when it has been crossed. Dear Arenanet, you not only crossed that line you you created an achievement for doing so.
I seem to be immune to the addictive influence of the daily so it is hard for me to really describe but from the outside all these show to me is that your game is lacking in some sort of fundamental way that you need to obscure. Shouldn’t these activities we are completing be rewarding enough to entice us on their own, wouldn’t the recent trend towards dailies you complete in your usual play just be better served in improving these actual activities. I don’t know… it just seems to be another band-aid that needs ripping off in order to let the wound truly heal.
I don’t know how but I miss the years of mmo’s I never played where players had there own goals rather than these being dictated by developers. How can I miss something I never tried or tasted, and how will I know it when it comes along? Well, this rat will try a different maze shortly to find out but the infection does seem to be spreading… time to amputate.